Skip to main content

Report: Port Vale 0 Blues 2

Posted: Wed 27 Jul 2016
Author: bcfc.com

Jack Storer set Blues on their way to victory in a feisty encounter at Vale Park.

The 18-year-old came off the substitutes bench to make an impact - and he certainly shook things up in more ways than one.

He headed home after 73 minutes just moments after being involved in a fracas caused by his own uncompromising tackle that sparked fiery scenes.

But Storer's introduction no doubt added positively to the mix and perked Blues, who scored a second in the 84th minute via the penalty spot, Paul Caddis netting.

The result, and  combative nature of the match that developed a real edge as Blues stepped it up after the break, will have done no harm as they head into the final warm-up against Roda at St. Andrew's on Saturday.

As Gary Rowett outlined beforehand, he tried something a little different with the starting line-up.

Stephen Gleeson sat in front of the back four with David Davis and Robert Tesche a little more advanced.

Andrew Shinnie and the returning David Cotterill flanked James Vaughan in a front three.

The players were clearly given licence to weave and interchange in the final third as they saw fit.

The first real opening came to Port Vale in the 13th minute when Gleeson lost concentration but recovered determinedly to get back and block a Anthony de Freitas shot from the right side of the area.

Cotterill stung the hands of Jak Alnwick with a trademark free-kick from a central position as Blues began to exert more pressure.

Vaughan headed not too far away from a deep Cotterill corner but the friendly really sparked into life when tempers frayed in the 35th minute.

As JJ Hooper was down receiving treatment all of a sudden an off the ball flare-up mushroomed.

There was pushing, shoving and grappling involving several players from both sides, away from the referee's eyes, who, after order had been restored, took no action other than an appeal for calm to both captains.

To close what had become a niggly opening period Vaughan didn't quite catch on the full his volley after making a good run across to meet a raking Cotterill ball in the area.

And Port Vale had an ambitious penalty appeal turned down when Sam Kelly's prodded shot hit Gleeson at close range.

As planned, Cotterill was withdrawn at the interval and Viv Solomon-Otabor introduced, to the left with Shinnie shifting across to the right.

And it was Shinnie who, coming into a central position, who initially threatened after a Vaughan chest down but he didn't connect sweetly enough with a low left footer from 20 yards and it was easily snaffled by Alnwick.

In the 53rd minute, however, Sam Foley cut across the face of the area from the left to a short pass by Paulo Tavares and arched a strong shot towards the top corner which Jonathan Grounds got in the way of to glance and help divert it over the crossbar..

Blues made a triple substitution in the 62nd minute bringing on Josh Cogley, Storer and Reece Brown.

Caddis went to left-back to make room for Cogley on the other side of the defence; Storer joined Vaughan in attack Brown slotted into midfield as Blues adopted 4-4-2.

Shinnie had the ball in the back of the net for Blues moments later after he ran across onto a lovely reverse find by Brown, swiveled and stuck the it through the 'keeper's legs from close in, but the flag was raised for offside.

With 20 minutes left, from a break after a free-kick on the edge of their own area, Storer was presented with a golden chance.

A misplaced pass rebounded into his path and he strode on into the area only to be denied when Alnwick sprinted out quickly to deflect his shot with his legs.

As the ball rebounded out towards the corner flag, Storer chased down the retrieving Anthony Grant and up-ended him with a front on spearing sliding tackle which took the ball and looked worse than it actually was.

As the pair grappled by the scruff of their necks, players from both sides raced over to join a melee that saw Vaughan tug at Alnwick's collar and end up being toppled over as the 'keeper spun Storer back to the floor. 

By now everyone was careering yards off the pitch trackside and stewards had to step in to help separate players. Referee Mark Heywood opted for yellow cards for Storer, Vaughan, Grant and Alnwick rather than red and as tempers were still simmering Storer then swooped to score.

Vaughan provided him with the ideal opportunity by taking a searching cross from Cogley on his chest and sending over a volleyed pass from the left byline from which the teenager made no mistake, heading down into an unguarded goal from close range.

With six minutes left Caddis secured the victory for Blues from the penalty spot.

A rasping cross from the right by Cogley was too hot for Alnwick, whose mistimed diving punch saw the ball fly off his knuckles behind him. 

The shrill sound of Heywood's whistle, though, alerted everyone to something else and the referee had quite rightly spied that Clayton Donaldson had been bundled to the deck by Remie Streete as cross arrowed over. 

Caddis took responsibility from 12 yards and thumped his spot-kick into the bottom left corner.
 
Port Vale: Alnwick, Purkiss (Gibbons 73), Knops (Forrester 61), Grant (Amoros 79), Streete, Smith (Mac-Intosh 61), Thomas (Kelly 19), Tavares (Rosa 61), Hooper (Saleiro 39), Foley, de Freitas (Mbamba ht). Not used: Root, Lloyd, Pereira.

Blues: Legzdins, Caddis, Shotton, Robinson, Grounds (Cogley 62), Tesche (Storer 62), Gleeson (Brown 62), Davis, Shinnie (Donaldson 79), Cotterill (Solomon-Otabor ht), Vaughan (Maghoma 79). Not used: Spector, Arthur, Morrison, Kuszczak, Fabbrini.