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Season 2006-2007 : Port Vale vs Yeovil Town : Saturday 3rd March 2007
Coca Cola League One : Port Vale vs Yeovil Town

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Venue: Vale Park, Burslem
Saturday 3rd March 2007, 3.00pm kick-off.

Scorers: Leon Constantine (15 mins, 1-0), Danny Whitaker (17 mins, 2-0), Wayne Gray (37 mins, 2-1), Marcus Stewart (38 mins, 2-2), Matthew Rose (og 49, 3-2), Leon Constantine (80 mins, 4-2)

Attendance: 4,202 (including approx 333 Yeovil supporters)

Referee: Steve Bratt (West Midlands)
Assistants: Andy Newell (Lancashire) and Ian Nolan (Lancashire)
Fourth official: Carl Dunn (Staffordshire).

Bookings:
Yeovil: Jean-Paul Kalala (41 mins, foul), Chris Cohen (90 mins, foul)
Port Vale: Robin Hulbert(36 mins, foul), Leon Constantine (77 mins, dissent)

Team Line-Ups

Yeovil Town : (4-4-2)
1. Steve Mildenhall
32. Matthew Rose 6. Terrell Forbes 4. Terry Skiverton 3. Nathan Jones
12. Martin Brittain 11. Chris Cohen 14. Jean-Paul Kalala 15. Peter Sweeney
29. Marcus Stewart 10. Wayne Gray

Subs: 5. Scott Guyett 9. Arron Davies 28. Martin Cranie (76 mins for Nathan Jones) 31. Nicholas Law (82 mins for Peter Sweeney) 25. Lee Morris (46 mins for Martin Brittain)

Port Vale :
12. Joe Anyon
24. Rhys Weston 16. Mark McGregor 2. George Pilkington 3. Jason Talbot
32. Malvin Kamara 4. Danny Sonner 21. Robin Hulbert 14. Danny Whitaker
20. Akpo Sodje 10. Leon Constantine

Subs: 40. Paul Musselwhite (GK) 17. Michael Husbands (82 mins for Malvin Kamara) 9. Nathan Lowndes (88 mins for Akpo Sodje) 27. Ross Gardner 18. Colin Miles (69 mins for Rhys Weston)

Match Report

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.

Half-time: Port Vale 2 - 2 Yeovil Town

Manager Russell Slade told his team at half time that the team that made the least mistakes on the rapidly deteriorating pitch would be the one that won the game. So he would not have been pleased when the half opened with Marcus Stewart giving the ball away on the halfway line. In doing so, Danny Sonner burst down the wing without a challenge, put in a cross and Leon Constantine's header should have been better - going wide of the target.

But on their next attack, Port Vale drew blood. Danny Whitaker's run saw the offside flag stay down despite him and Leon Constantine looking suspiciously offside. Whitaker's run saw the Yeovil back line horribly exposed and when the cross was put into the box, Matthew ROSE couldn't do anything other than to turn the ball into the back of his own net, in trying to cut out the ball and deny Constantine a free shot on goal. Back to square one again - all within four minutes of the restart.

Akpo Sodje struck just over the crossbar as Vale suddenly had their tails up again. Then Constantine put through Sodje as the latter got in behind the Glovers defence but put his shot wide of the post. This was a carbon copy of the first period unfortunately, and there wasn't an awful lot of signs that any half time team talks had resulted in any effect upon the pattern of the game. Midway through the half, Colin Miles, who had been denied a chance to start against his former club, finally made an appearance onto the field of play, replacing former Glovers trialist Rhys Weston as Port Vale reshuffled their back line midway through the second period.

Chris Cohen shot wide of the target as he stretched to receive a Marcus Stewart ball into the box with Yeovil having broken up field in a rare attack as Port Vale's back line held firm. But this was about as good as it got as the Glovers struggled to create any kind of real impression at any stage of the game.

At the other end, a superb block by Matthew Rose denied Port Vale a chance on goal after Steve Mildenhall could only manage a poor punch from a ball into the box. Rose blocked Leon Constantine's shot as the ball ran loose and the Glovers were saved. Constantine was booked for subequent protests, claiming that Rose had blocked his shot with his hand and for a while the Port Vale striker appeared to lose his composure. A minute later he was lucky to stay on the field - barging into Martin Cranie off the ball - who had only just come on as a sub to replace Nathan Jones. But after a conversation with his assistant, match referee Steve Bratt decided to just issue a finger-wagging to the rather lucky striker.

Having stayed on the field of play, Leon CONSTANTINE struck gold within minutes with a slice of good fortunate that told you it was going to be Port Vale's day. The pitch had been dreadful all game and getting worse and when Martin Cranie's backpass fell short and bobbled, Steve Mildenhall's clearance cannoned off the Port Vale striker and into the back of the net to give a 4-2 scoreline and realistically no way back for the Glovers.

Nicky Law replaced Peter Sweeney during the final 10 minutes which seemed to be more of a substitute for substitutings sake rather than anything that was likely to produce a route back into the game. With four minutes left, Wayne Gray - one of the few players to come out with some credit from the game - produced a superb save out of the Port Vale keeper as he shot from 25 yards but the ball was tipped around the post for a corner.

As the game thankfully closed to a conclusion, things could have got worse. Rather like Constantine, Jean-Paul Kalala got a finger wagging for committing a foul whilst on a yellow card - yet another foul on Robin Hulbert. But Chris Cohen was not so fortunate - getting a yellow in the final minute for a fierce tackle that almost provoked a melee on the pitch.

In the end, it was not the best of days for Yeovil's injury record either with Steve Mildenhall, Wayne Gray, Jean-Paul Kalala and Marcus Stewart all hobbling around at various points during the second half. Add to that some uncharacteristic defending during the match where the Glovers never seemed to adapt to the dreadful pitch in the way at Port Vale were able to, and they ultimately came home with what they deserved - nothing.

Full-time: Port Vale 4 - 2 Yeovil Town
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