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Shrimps 2-2 Port Vale

Globe Arena, Saturday 8 December 2018, 3pm, League 2.

Attendance – 1769 with 410 from Burslem.

Shrimps – Halstead Yarney Old Lavelle Conlan Kenyon c Cranston Mandeville Ellison Leitch-Smith Oswell subs used Thompson for Cranston, Oates for Ellison, Oliver for Oswell.

Vale – Brown Gibbons Montano Kay Oyeleke Pope c Hannant Rawlinson Smith Vassell Conlon subs used Quigley for Oyeleke.

Ref – Andy Haines, couple of tackles early on from behind on Oswell which he should have stamped on. Otherwise his incompetent assistant did the damage.

Pitch – Probably never looked as good in December at the Globe, however a very high wind blowing from behind the home stand affected both teams against it.

An apocalyptic downpour in the first 15 minutes affected both sides ability to keep the ball in play or establish a pattern. Thankfully this subsided and as time wore on the Shrimps forced the play. It would have been easy to pump it forward with the wind at their backs but patient build up, particularly down the flanks forced a foul and Mandeville’s free kick was saved well. Within a couple of minutes, Cranston pounced on a loose ball in his own half and beat two men, the Vale defence back pedalled and Jordan delivered a cunning through ball which Ajay finished with ease to open the scoring. Oswell immediately had an effort deflected for a corner which was hastily cleared. More corners followed, with varying degrees of panic, all were cleared safely by Vale. AJay then cut inside from the left flank and was just wide after beating three men across the D. Yet more bruising on Mandeville lead to Cranston using the wind from 35 yards out, Brown diving full length to tip over for another corner from the resulting free kick.

Then, Kenyon had an opportunity blocked, the ball bounced back to him and his back post cross was bravely headed home by Oswell for his first league goal in a Shrimps shirt. HT 2-0.

Despite the wind at their backs, Vale persisted with the long ball to Pope who successfully headed through to Halstead on every occasion. Mandeville turned his man and curled an effort that Brown did brilliantly to tip away for another corner as the Shrimps pressed. Vale stepped up a gear, but their final ball and insistence of using Pope wasn’t troubling the Shrimps back line, however playing out against the high wind was proving difficult and as a result the ball was coming back too quickly.

A free kick on the Vale left, with 7 ┬áminutes left, caused the main controversy of the afternoon. Floated in, the back five stepped out as a man leaving 5 Vale players offside as it was kicked, the refs assistant stepped up with the advancing back line and waved play on?? Kay tapped the ball past Halstead expecting the flag, but it didn’t come? I can safely say that this was one of the top ten dreadful decisions I have witnessed live at a game. Even Vale were surprised, Kenyon and Old argued but the goal stood. Rattled, The Shrimps looked shell shocked, Vale poured forward, a lovely cross from Vassell was judged brilliantly by Pope to head powerfully home to equalise on 87. 2 shots on target, 2 goals.

However, the excitement wasn’t over yet, Oliver nodded on a long ball from the kick off, Oates chased and was upended by the advancing Brown after touching the ball, Mr Haines pointed to the spot. After the last missed pen against Yeovil, which in the end didn’t cost us, we presumed that there would be a new penalty taker. Thompson, Mandy and Rhys all wanted it but AJay clutched the ball and placed it on the spot. There then followed the usual skullduggery, time wasting keeper saying the balls not in the spot, encroaching etc. AJay looked nervous, and despite hitting it low to Browns right, he gleefully dropped on the ball. When asked afterwards, Jim & Ken both said that Oswell and AJAy were down on the board to take today, and as Jason had been subbed it was AJay. He has since apologised, I only hope that someone new is allocated soon and is on the pitch next time we get a penalty, ( probably due another in 2020 now!!).

So it ended all square, with 11 corners to 4 and five shots on target to two in our favour, but it’s goals that count. I do hope we don’t get anymore blindingly obvious awful decisions affecting games from now on. Afterwards, both Neil Aspin and John Rudge admitted they had got away with one.

We played the wind much better than them, both halfs, however it wasn’t to be. In another game we deserved to win comfortably, somehow we managed not to. Film of the goal played back highlights the error from the officials, oops!

Freez

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