Vale 1 Aldershot 1
Vale moved one step closer to promotion to League One but were forced to settle for a point against lowly Aldershot Town.
Following the euphoria of Friday night`s 7-1 win over Burton Albion, Vale at no stage looked like repeating that level of drama and produced a tired looking display against a side fighting for their Football League survival.
Micky Adams made only one change to the side, with John McCombe replacing the injured Liam Chilvers. The system that worked so well against Burton didn`t prove as effective in what was a scrappy game played in blustery conditions. Credit to Aldershot, who looked fresher, having had a week off, hustled Vale into mistakes and generally defended stoutly throughout.
The game always looked as if it might be more difficult than advertised. Despite their surprisingly lowly position, Aldershot have a decent away record this season and a solid defence. Their obvious problem has been converting draws into wins, which can be largely put down to the the absence of striker Daniel Hylton for large parts of the season.
Vale created little during a tepid first half. A rare bit of quality sparked the game into life just before the interval when Jennison Myrie-Williams capitalised on some good work by Lee Hughes. The winger, on this occasion took the right option, cutting inside and curling a wonderful left footed shot into the corner of Young`s goal.
Hopes that would provide the springboard for a more impressive second half proved unfounded. Other than a suicidal piece of defending from Craig Stanley which forced Young into turning his header behind for a corner, Vale didn`t really threaten. The key to the second half came with a double substitution from Scott, when he replaced his largely ineffective centre forward pairing. For all the talk of Vale`s lack of pace and mobility at the back, more of a concern is how often Vale`s pairing (whoever they may be) are bullied by aggressive strikers. Whether Vale had a case for a foul for the resulting equaliser is open to debate. However, McCallum reacted smartly to a header back across goal to volley past Neal. It was no more than the visitors deserved.
Although Tom Pope missed a stoppage time opportunity to snatch the win, the point still leaves Vale well placed. A win at Rochdale on Saturday will result in some head scratching and number crunching, but promotion could even be sealed the following Tuesday when the Vale are not in action. Whichever way it comes, as long as it does come is all that matters. Adams may need to freshen things up for Saturday`s trip where Vale will be roared on by just under 3,000 supporters.