Thursday 18 January 2018

Port Vale sail to an easy win

Port Vale's preparations for life in League One continued on Saturday with an extremely facile victory over Bray Wanderers.

Port Vale's preparations for life in League One continued on Saturday with an extremely facile victory over Bray Wanderers.

Half time substitution Ben Williamson bagged himself a hat-trick in the second period as Micky Adam's men recorded a 1-5 victory at a sundrenched Carlisle Grounds over an experimental Seagulls side.

Only three first team regulars made the starting XI for Pat Devlin's side; Daire Doyle, Danny O'Connor and Kevin O'Connor. New signings Shane Redmond, Michael Brown, Sean Noble, Ryan Coombes, Niall Cooney and Dwayne Wilson were all given the chance to show what they can do while Peter Thomas and Sean Hurley could attempt to force their way into Devo's plans.

An oldie and a newbie combined to almost open the scoring for Wanderers. Daire Doyle intercepted the ball on Vale's left flank and his disguised pass found Ryan Coombes on the edge of the penalty area. The attacker was a bit overeager though and blazed his shot over.

Port Vale centre half Chris Robertson then created a problem for his side when his attempted back-header looped straight into the air and landed at the feet of former Bohs man Dwayne Wilson but he wasn't decisive enough and Robertson recovered to snuff out the danger.

Chris Lines came within inches of beating new Bray shot-stopper Shane Redmond in the 20th minute. His corner came back to him and he cut inside, sending a low curling effort through a sea of bodies. But the ball bounced back off the outside of Redmond's far post.

The opener wasn't much longer in coming though. Lines' free kick was headed out to skipper Tom Pope and his delivery found Robertson who found the back of the net.

Lee Hughes should have added to that lead when he nudged Danny O'Connor aside and took down Adam Yates' cross but his disappointing effort was a bread and butter save for Redmond.

Hughes went much closer a minute later. After some very patient play at the back from Vale, Robertson broke rank and flung the ball forward. Hughes broke the offside trap and latched onto the pass and his thunderous effort rattled the underside of the crossbar before being cleared away.

A poor shot from Louis Dodds on the edge of the area then turned into a brilliant cross as Pope slid in to divert it goalwards but Redmond adjusted quickly and made the save.

The hosts made four changes at the break but it didn't stem the flow of Port Vale attacks and that was proved as Williamson sent a looping header beyond Redmond from Lines' curling cross from the right.

Lines then added his name to the scoresheet when he squeezed a scrappy effort past Redmond after a mix-up in the Bray penalty area.

A 0-3 deficit didn't quieten the home side though and stand-in captain Daire Doyle bombed forward from right-back to spark a move that saw Kevin O'Connor feed Kevin O'Leary and the striker's snapshot was acrobatically tipped over the crossbar by Chris Neal.

Within two minutes of that opportunity though, Ryan Lloyd's long ball released Williamson and the number 17 netted his second of the afternoon.

Kevin O'Leary then put a slight blemish on Vale's notepad. Niall Cooney adventured forward from centre half and chipped a pass through for O'Leary who finished past Sam Johnson – only on the field two minutes – with authority.

But the new boys of League One had the last laugh. Replacement striker Gavin Tomlin was keen to bag a goal but after initially being denied by Redmond, he slipped it to Williamson who thumped it to the bottom corner to earn himself the match ball.

Wicklow People

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