Port Vale: Trialists shine in reserve-team draw
AN inexperienced Port Vale side earned a point from their Central League Regional (West) Division clash at Bury yesterday.
The Valiants' side contained no professional players, but did include a couple of trialists, as they had the better of a 0-0 draw at Radcliffe Borough's ground.
Norwegian striker Andre Herrem, aged 25, who has scored 65 goals in 133 games in a career which has taken him from his homeland to Germany and Estonia, started up front.
He was joined by 20-year-old marksman Jordan Hugill, a former Whitby Town and Consett player who has been with the Glenn Hoddle Soccer Academy in Spain.
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Coach Mike Ede was pleased with his young side's performance.
"I thought we did well on what was a difficult pitch, which limited the chances of playing good football.
"We had a game plan to hit them on the counter-attack and it largely worked as we created a number of chances. The two trialists did quite well and they will only get better with full-time training."
Tom Morris was making his first appearance since his head injury against Everton in the FA Youth Cup and showed no ill effects with a couple of meaty challenges early on.
Herrem then held the ball up well for Hugill to fire over the bar.
Tom Pratt burst down the Bury right and hit a shot that was well saved by Ryan Boot before Vale had the best chance to take the lead on the half-hour mark.
A free-kick came over from the right to an unmarked Dougie Price, six yards from goal, and his header was parried by Christian Dibble – son of former Manchester City keeper Andy Dibble – and the rebound was headed against the bar by Ricardo Swaby.
Will Whieldon had a 25-yard shot saved by Dibble, while at the other end Navid Nasiri hit a shot wide.
After the break Jack Pryor had a shot saved at the foot of the post.
Bury then came to life as Jonson Clarke-Harris lashed a shot goalwards which Boot tipped around the post.
And then the same player danced through the Vale defence and as Boot advanced he lobbed the ball just over the bar.
Sam Dickinson soon nodded the ball past Boot only for Price to clear off the line.
With a quarter of an hour remaining Valery Mezague, a Cameroon international with seven full caps and who was making his debut in a Bury shirt, hit a free-kick from just outside the box which Boot saved.
Herrem, Vale's first Norwegian player since Robin Bernsten in 1998, was replaced by Ollie Marland after a promising first showing.
Bury were reduced to ten men when Tom Rouine limped off with seven minutes remaining having used all their named substitutes.
And Vale almost secured victory with four minutes left, but Pryor had his shot saved.
Bury: Dibble, Cooke, Holden, Rouine, Melia, Mezague, Pratt (Bickett, 70), Walker, Clarke-Harris (Prickett, 65), Nasiri, Dickinson.
Port Vale: Boot, Evans, Morris (Lander, 90), Whieldon, Price, Smith, Croft (Osbourne, 84), Pryor, Hugill, Herrem (Marland, 77), Swaby. Subs not used: Hemmings, M Davies, Wright.