Vintage Port For Five-Alive Vale

Last updated : 24 July 2004 By Thetashkentterror

Port Vale romped to a 5-1 win over the Isle of Man national team in a full-bloodied and action-packed encounter on Friday evening at the Ballacloan Stadium in Ramsey, watched by a healthy attendance of 606 spectators.

The match was only to decide which team would take away the tournament’s wooden spoon but that seemed to be forgotten by both sides in a game which saw five bookings, six goals and eight substitutions.

Three goals flew in with only nine minutes gone, a flying start to the game which saw the Valiants first onto the score-sheet after just two minutes.

Steve Rowland crossed into the box from the right where Steve Brooker’s close-range header was well saved by Islanders keeper Daniel Wade, only for Billy Paynter to be on hand to tap in the rebound.

The Manx men found themselves two behind only four minutes later. This time it was Paynter’s header from a Jeff Smith left-wing cross that was saved by Wade and Brooker who was the finisher as he ran the ball home.

On nine minutes it was the Islanders turn to net. Peter Langridge taking a Chris Feeney through ball into the box only to be brought down by Craig James, the Vale defender being very lucky to escape with only a yellow card. Langridge got up to take the spot-kick and sent Johnathan Brain the wrong way, firing hard into the bottom right corner.

Langridge was at the heart of the action again two minutes later as his header from a Chris Bass corner was cleared off the line by Vale centre-half Simon Robinson.

On 19 minutes the lanky Islander had a header disallowed for offside only for Vale to make it 3-1 four minutes later as Langridge was this time the culprit.

His missed attempted clearance from Paynter’s header at a Smith corner let in Mick Cummins who smashed the ball home from six yards out.

On the half-hour Gavin Faragher had a superb 25-yard drive tipped over by Brain in the Vale goal. Then two minutes later Dixon hit a low drive just wide of the near-post, Dixon making his 50th appearance for the Islanders since making his debut against Ireland in 1998.

Vale made the score-line a flattering looking 5-1 with two goals in three minutes just before the break.

On 40 minutes Craig James curled in a free-kick from the right which flew straight over Wade’s head and into the far corner of the net. A shell-shocked Wade was eventually replaced at half-time by Mark Blair in the Islanders goal.

The fifth Vale goal was another simple effort, Smith’s corner from the left was flicked on at the near-post by James, leaving Brooker the simple task of heading home from close-range.

The second half started in slow and niggly fashion as the Islanders attempted to bite back against a very physical Vale side.

On 59 minutes Lee Matthews and Dixon were both only booked by referee Gary Lewis, who officiated weakly throughout the game, when both could have been sent off for appearing to throw punches.

The Islanders best second-half chances came in the 65th minute with some Port Vale penalty area pinball. From a bass corner Langridge had a shot blocked, Faragher a header saved and then Langridge again a header wide as the Valiants were unable to clear their lines.

The contest flared up again in the 70th minute when Vale’s Mick Cummins was booked for a foul on Nick Hurt, Hurt also finding his way into the referee’s notebook for dissent.

Vale were only reduced to ten men in the 82nd minute when Matthews was forced off with a groin strain after the Potteries side had already used their five allotted substitutions.

The Islander continued to press forward and in the 86th minute man of the match Johnny Myers fed a ball through to Bass on the left who hit a low cross-shot straight at substitute keeper Mark Goodlad in the Vale goal.

Dixon looked for a goal on his big night two minutes from the end of the game but his speculative 25-yard low drive was pulled just wide of the near-post.

It was Vale who had the last chance of the night, substitute Chris Birchall pulling his far-post half-volley wide of the near-post from a Brooker cross on the left.

Vale were flattered by the final score of 5-1 and the Islanders can count themselves unlucky not to have scored more than one goal during the tournament as their good approach play has warranted more.

Isle of Man :

Daniel Wade (Mark Blair 46), Julian Ringham, Glen Hamilton (Danny Lace 46), Johnny Myers, Robin Bates, Chris Feeney, Lee Dixon, Nick Hurt, Peter Langridge, Gavin Faragher (Callum Morrissey 65), Chris Bass.

Unused subs : Robert Cottier, Kevin Megson, Mark Kelly, Johnny Cowley, Tony Corlett.

Port Vale :

Johnathan Brain (Mark Goodlad 46), Steve Rowland, Craig James (Ryan Brown 73), Robin Hulbert (Chris Birchall 73), Dean Smith, Simon Robinson (Levi Reid 46), Lee Matthews, Mick Cummins, Steve Brooker, Billy Paynter (Simon Eldershaw 73), Jeff Smith.

Unused sub : Ian Armstrong.

Yellow cards : Craig James 9, unsporting behaviour, Lee Dixon 59, unsporting behaviour, Lee Matthews 59, unsporting behaviour, Mick Cummins 75, unsporting behaviour, Nick Hurt 75, dissent.

Referee : Gary Lewis.

Tim Graham (thetashkentterror).