10.12.22 Rovers v Port Vale Match Report

A solitary Aaron Collins strike was enough to give Rovers the three points against Port Vale at a bitterly-cold Memorial Stadium.

Club captain Paul Coutts made his return from injury for this afternoon's game against Port Vale at The Mem. Lewis Gordon was the other change, replacing the injured Trevor Clarke in the starting line-up. 


Rovers kicked off in the bright winter's sunshine. Coburn won an early free-kick, which Evans swung in. Ellis Harrison, making his return to The Mem, headed clear. The striker was soon in action at the other end, teeing up a shot for Politic, which Thomas was able to block for a Vale corner.

A misplaced Rossiter pass after seven minutes presented Harrison with a chance that Belshaw had to dive to his left to deflect behind. Rovers then began to play on the front foot. First, Corburn whistled a 10th-minute shot inches wide, before Rossiter blocked a clearance and crossed to the far post, only for Vale goalkeeper Stevens to tip behind for a corner.

Coburn was barged to the floor in the 16th minute to give Rovers a free-kick in a decent position out wide. His delivery was into a dangerous area, but Benning eventually cleared for the visitors. Collins ran down the left in the 19th minute and fired a cross across the face of the goal, but no Gas player could provide the finishing touch.

A superb Sinclair pass put Coburn in on goal in the 33rd minute, with Stevens forced into a smart, low stop. From the corner, Rossiter connected with a fierce volley, which the midfielder appealed in vain had been blocked by the hand of Conlon. Referee Brook disagreed and awarded the Gas a corner.

Coutts saw yellow in the 43rd minute for pulling back Benning as he looked to make inroads. The Vale free-kick landed at the feet of Harrison, but he sliced his shot tamely wide of the target. The half came to an end with the Gas on top, but with chances at a premium.

Vale's Jones fouled Coburn in the 49th minute but Evans free-kick was headed away. Evans showed good skill in the 54th minute to spin away from his man and found Gordon in the area, who was dispossessed just as he looked to pull the trigger. A minute later, Coburn was thwarted by the advancing Stevens as he ran onto a through ball.


Politic was booked in the 63rd minute for kicking the ball away, before being immediately substituted. The Gas responded with a substitute of their own as Marquis replaced Evans.

Collins ran at the defence after 66 minutes, and his cross-shot hit Sinclair, before deflecting behind for a corner. Vale's Harrison hadn't looked fully fit all game, and was replaced by Mipo in the 71st minute. Referee Brook wasn't finding his way onto the Gasheads' Christmas card list after first refusing a free-kick as Coburn appeared to be man-handled, then awarding Vale a throw, when it looked like a Rovers one. Collins burst down the right flank but his cross was just too strong for Marquis.

Both sides were struggling to find control as the temperature dropped. Good defending, first from Gibson, then Gordon, kept Vale at bay, before Rovers missed the best chance of the game in the 77th minute. Coburn wriggled free, fired across goal and, after it was partially cleared, Sinclair arrived at the far post to sidefoot agonisingly wide of the target.


Conlon had Vale's best effort in the 84th minute, but a flying Belshaw prevented him from finding the back of the net. Vale's Butterworth was booked for showing dissent in the 85th minute. 

Collins then fired home from nothing in the 87th minute, chasing a lost cause before curling home a lovely left-footed strike from the edge of the area to secure the three points for Rovers.


Next up for the Gas is the visit of MK Dons to The Mem in our Papa Johns Trophy Round of 16 clash on Tuesday, 13th December.

Rovers: James Belshaw, James Connolly, Lewis Gordon, Scott Sinclair, Aaron Collins, Jordan Rossiter, Paul Coutts (c), Lewis Gibson, Antony Evans, Bobby Thomas, Josh Coburn.

Subs: Anssi Jaakkola, Alfie Kilgour, John Marquis, Harvey Saunders, Luke McCormick, Glenn Whelan, James Gibbons.

Port Vale: Jack Stevens, Daniel Jones, Connor Hall, Nathan Smith, David Worrall, Ben Garrity, James Wilson, Tom Conlon (c), Malvind Benning, Ellis Harrison, Dennis Politic.

Subs: Lewis Cass, William Forrester, Rory Holden, Gavin Massey, Mipo Odubeko, Tom Pett, Daniel Butterworth.

Referee: Carl Brook.

Attendance: 8,264 (591 away)

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