Vale 3 Shrewsbury 1
The Valiants move up to ninth spot in League One following a deserved 3-1 victory over Shrewsbury Town in a thoroughly entertaining encounter at Vale Park.
Vale boss Micky Adams made three changes to the side which defeated Shortwood United on Monday. Captain Doug Loft was fit enough to start, so replaced Chris Birchall. Ben Williamson came in for Lee Hughes upfront, while there was a rare start at centre back for Richard Duffy who replaced the sick Liam Chilvers.
Vale started with the sort of intensity which sees them at their most dangerous. Ben Williamson forced Chris Weale into an early save, while Chris Lines` angled drive was blocked inside the six yard box. The visitors struggled to match Vale`s power during the first half, with the home side looking especially threatening from set pieces. It wass no surprise when the breakthrough came from a pinpoint delivery from Lines, whose range of passing continues to impress. Chris Robertson had the simplest of tasks, heading home the midfielder`s centre. Robertson had further opportunities to score, the best coming when he headed straight at Weale when it looked easier to find the net.
A second wasn`t long in coming. Lines was again the architect. A clever ball to Myrie-Williams left the winger in acres of space. With plenty still to do, the former Stevenage man cut in from the right hand side as is his want and curled a delicious shot into the top corner.
Shrewsbury spurned a gilt-edged opportunity to reduce the deficit on the stroke of half time when McAlinden scuffed his shot wide when clean through on goal.
The visitors upped the pace at the start of the second half as Vale began to be overrun in midfield, as Nicky Wroe started to exert his influence on proceedings. McAlinden started and finished the move which saw Shrewsbury pull a goal back with a close range strike on the hour mark.
Vale were being forced deeper as the Shrews pushed on in search of an unlikely equaliser. The home side picked up the tempo once more, however. Tom Pope contrived to miss two glorious chances. Firstly, uncharacteristically firing over from close range, and then seeing his point black header drift wide of the far post. With time running out, the visitors through caution to the wind, sending keeper Weale up for a stoppage time corner. Vale cleared, with Dodds finding Birchall, who picked out fellow substitute Hugill, and the young striker displayed real composure to finish coolly into the far corner for his first goal in professional football.
Overall, an impressive performance from the Valiants who will go into next week`s derby game with Crewe full of confidence. The performances of Duffy at centre back and Hugill, although extremely raw, will give Adams some food for thought with his team selection for that game.