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View From the Bycars

View From the Bycars
May God forgive me, but when I looked at the weather forecast for the weekend I was rather hoping the game would be called off. A sticky dog of a pitch and strong winds did not offer much prospect of an entertaining spectacle, but in the event it wasn`t the conditions that gave Vale most problems, it was the opposition. I should come clean. Swindon Town are not among my favourite clubs. They wouldn`t be even if they allowed us to win a game now and again. I`ll say no more, for that way lawyers lie.

Swindon obviously, and correctly, thought that the playing conditions were a significant factor by choosing to play against the wind in the first half. Despite this, they dominated the game territorially, forcing a series of challenging corners. At no point did Vale succeed in establishing a platform in midfield. It was therefore something of a surprise when they scored. Myrie-Williams got a decent ball for the first time in the game, beat his full back, crossed with the outside of his left foot into the six yard box where Loft appeared out of nowhere to finish brilliantly at the near post. Vale then went two up after Archibald-Henville, who looked the weak link in the Swindon team, headed a left wing cross against one of his own players. The ball fell to Pope, who really ought to have buried it, but did enough for the ball to creep in at the post. Two nil at half time really flattered the Vale. I never felt that we had enough to win the game if Swindon managed to get the next goal, which they duly did.

Vale were utterly outplayed in the second half. Micky Adams recognised that the midfield needed reinforcing by making an early substitution, bringing on Griffith for Tomlin, who had had a poor game. Griffith then contrived to have an absolute stinker himself. He was at fault in the build up to Swindon`s first goal and gave away a stupid and unnecessary foul that led to Swindon`s second, from a well struck free kick by Pritchard. From that moment Swindon ran riot. Luongo controlled the game and Vale could not cope with the movement of Ranger and the close control of (the irritating little) Pritchard. All these players looked capable of playing at a higher level.

Swindon players ran off their markers all over the pitch. They closed the Vale down high up the field and we could barely get out of our half, not helped by playing against a very strong wind, though this did not seem to have inconvenienced Swindon as much in the first half. We were lucky that Swindon didn`t score six. I thought that Joe Davis did well in the circumstances. He was not helped by both full backs having poor games and Robertson, as ever, not punching his weight. Vale`s defensive frailties are not down to the defence alone, however. The midfield provided no protection whatsoever and individual errors keep recurring. That`s nine goals we have conceded in the last three games - against three very different teams. And in case you haven`t noticed we are only one point closer to the play-offs than we are from the relegation zone. There are some very important games coming up.

Writer:Tom
Date:Sunday February 9 2014
Time: 12:07PM

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# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Sheff Utd 39 23 10 6 79 30
2 Bolton 39 22 9 8 75 28
3 Fleetwood 39 19 12 8 69 19
4 Scunthorpe 40 19 10 11 67 21
5 Bradford 40 16 18 6 66 15
6 Southend 39 17 12 10 63 13
7 Millwall 38 16 12 10 60 8
8 Rochdale 38 16 9 13 57 6
9 Bristol Rovers 40 15 12 13 57 -1
10 Oxford 39 16 8 15 56 5
11 Peterborough 40 15 10 15 55 1
12 Walsall 39 13 14 12 53 -2
13 Wimbledon 39 12 15 12 51 1
14 Northampton 40 14 8 18 50 -6
15 MK Dons 39 12 12 15 48 -1
16 Charlton 39 10 17 12 47 3
17 Bury 40 12 10 18 46 -7
18 Oldham 40 10 15 15 45 -12
19 Gillingham 40 11 12 17 45 -17
20 Shrewsbury 39 11 10 18 43 -14
21 Port Vale 38 10 12 16 42 -17
22 Swindon 40 10 9 21 39 -18
23 Chesterfield 40 8 9 23 33 -28
24 Coventry 40 7 11 22 32 -27
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