Vale 1 Crewe 1
In an aside from off the field distractions, Vale and Crewe contested a keenly fought derby game, which deservedly ended all square.
The day started with news of Peter Miller`s resignation (three months too late), which meant the Board is once more inquorate. Rumours remain of the club`s imminent administration at the time of writing, with further revelations that the players have not been paid this morning. The coming days could be some of the most important in the club`s history.
Amid the chaos, Micky Adams` side are producing arguably their best football of the season. Byron Moore`s late equaliser denied the Valiants the opportunity to draw level with Oxford United in the play-off positions. That may all seem academic in the coming days, as the club faces up to a much bigger battle; the one to ensure its very survival.
In a game of few clear cut chances, the Valiants had the better of much of the first hour. Steve Phillips produced an outstanding save to deny Marc Richards` close range header on the half hour mark, the closest either side came to scoring. The visitors were content to sit deep and play on the counter attack, but other than a couple of speculative long range efforts, Stuart Tomlinson was rarely called into action during the first half.
The breakthrough came early into the second period when Paul Marshall`s teasing cross was inadvertently turned into his own net by Artell. This led to a period of pressure by the home side, with Vale taking every opportunity to press Alex high up the pitch and forcing the Crewe back line into errors.
Alas, Vale struggled to maintain this tempo. With Shuker and Marshall becoming increasingly important to Vale`s play over recent weeks, the game turned with their withdrawal. The Valiants lost shape and impetus and Crewe began to increase the pressure. Danny Shelley came close to an equaliser when his thunderous shut cannoned off the crossbar, before the inevitable equaliser. Shaun Miller rounded Tomlinson and when his effort was cleared off the line, Moore was on hand to score from close range. Both sides seemed content to hold what they had, in truth a result that does little for the prospects of either side. Vale, however, have a far stiffer challenge to face now...