As per the previous few matches, manager Russell Slade continued his apparent policy of squad rotation in midfield, shuffling out Arron Davies and Nicky Law and bringing in Peter Sweeney and Martin Brittain, with the width of the Vale pitch being a factor in his thinking. Also perhaps in his thoughts was the state of the Vale Park pitch - a soft spongy affair that certainly wouldn't be conducive towards good football in the middle. Getting it wide would doubtless be essential to counteract the likely problems if the Glovers tried to play the ball down the middle.
An early chance for Vale from Danny Whitaker went wide of the post with Yeovil having a very flat start, taking a while to get into their game. This is unfortunately a common feature of a lot of Yeovil's games this season but this was probably worse than the average start, with Vale clearly on top.
However, whilst the Glovers have often ridden any early pressure well and gradually grown into games, it was not to be that way today, as they conceded twice in quick succession to give them a mountain to climb. Terry Skiverton's poor backpass ended up in no-man's land, the ball was put into the centre by Akpo Sodje and Leon CONSTANTINE converted a simple chance to put Port Vale a goal up.
A minute later that poor start turned into a horror start as more poor defending gifted Port Vale their second goal. A cross in from the right found Danny WHITAKER unmarked and as Skivo again was caught flat-footed, seeing the ball go under his feet as he tried to control it, Whitaker was well placed just behind him to collect the loose ball and fire home. 2-0 down and just 17 minutes on the clock and the alarm bells were ringing.
It took around 20 minutes before the Glovers finally began to work out how to play the awful conditions, finally creating their first chance of any note. Chris Cohen won possession, chasing down George Pilkington, winning the tackle, and in doing so set up Marcus Stewart. Stewie slipped the ball inside to Peter Sweeney who fired just wide of the post, appealing in vain for a penalty as a Port Vale defender slid in taking his legs away as he shot on goal.
Just eight minutes before the break, after a fairly miserable half of football, the Glovers found their way back into the match almost as quickly as they had lost control of it, with it being Port Vale's turn to have 60 seconds of madness. Martin Brittain's right wing cross, deflected and looped up in the air invitingly and Wayne GRAY showed superb strength to pounce from eight yards out to give Yeovil a lifeline.
Less an a minute later, what seemed improbable suddenly became possible! A superb piece of play by Wayne Gray found Chris Cohen inside the box. His shot was parried by Port Vale keeper Joe Anyon but coming in for the rebound was Marcus STEWART who slammed the ball into the roof of the net for an improbable equaliser! Hardly deserved, but no-one from the Somerset end of the ground was likely to complain.
Jean-Paul Kalala and Robin Holbert each picked up a booking after a running battle between both players appeared to escalate. Holbert had earlier tackled Kalala long after the whistle had blown, but 15 minutes later Kalala appeared to exact revenge when he went in high on the same player. Both got deserved yellow cards.
A poor first half for the Glovers finally came to an end, with the defence looking frequently jittery against the Port Vale trio of Akpo Sodje, Leon Constantine and Danny Whitaker ending up with a scoreline that did not accurately reflect the balance of play. Whilst the Glovers deserve credit for getting their way back into the game, they did so only by 60 seconds of madness by Vale in a half that they had been mainly under the cosh.