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Match Reports

Port Vale 0 City 1

Grecians battle to take narrow victory on the road

20 March 2018

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Exeter City battled well to take all three points as they beat Port Vale 1-0 in Sky Bet League Two.

Jordan Storey scored his first senior goal in the first-half which was enough to win it for the Grecians, who had to defend well against a Vale side who put City under considerable aerial pressure.

But credit to City who defended excellently, with standout performances from Storey and Pierce Sweeney in the centre of defence.

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Paul Tisdale made four changes to the City side that lost to Morecambe last weekend with Jordan Tillson, Liam McAlinden, Kane Wilson and Storey himself all coming into the starting XI at Vale Park as the Grecians looked to get back to winning ways.

In a competitive first half, it was the home side who arguably dominated things early on as they looked to put the Grecians’ defence under considerable aerial pressure. Tyrone Barnett had Vale’s first chance of the match when he latched onto a deep cross but could only head wide.

Despite not seeing much of the possession in the opening encounters, City looked dangerous on the counter-attack through Hiram Boateng, who almost set up Liam McAlinden for a tap in, but for an important interception from the home side.

The Grecians then made some good work down the left-hand side count when Ryan Harley kept his cool in the 24th minute to cut back onto his left foot before delivering an excellent cross towards Storey, who flicked an effort towards the far corner as the ball sailed past Ryan Boot in the Vale goal.

A good spell for the away side almost saw them double their lead when, again with Boateng at the heart of things, he played the ball in behind the Vale defence to Harley, whose cut back towards Jake Taylor was scrambled away before the City midfielder could get a clean shot away.

But to their credit, Vale tried to hit back and dominated the later stages of the first half creating some good chances, again from deep crosses. Barnett was to have another header at goal, but for a fantastic save from Christy Pym who tipped over to keep the Grecians ahead going into the break.

The home side came out after half-time in similar vein as they ended the first half, continuing to deliver dangerous crosses into the City box.

They almost went level just before the hour mark when another good ball in found Charlie Raglan, whose header was destined for the far corner, but for a fantastic header away by Taylor as he kept City ahead.

But it was Tisdale’s side who would have the next chance as they counter-attacked well and benefited from some tenacious running from Kane Wilson as he fed McAlinden, who squared the ball to Boateng, before he shot straight at Boot.

As the half wore on, though, City’s chances began to dry up as the hosts pushed for a way back into the match. Pym was forced into action 15 minutes from time when Barnett again rose well to head at goal forcing a wonderful diving save from the City goalkeeper, before he got up to deny a follow up effort from Luke Hannant.

The Grecians continued to try and frustrate their opponents and protect their narrow lead, with determined performances, particularly from the defence who had to deal with masses of aerial pressure, as Tisdale's side held on to an important three points in the race for promotion.

Port Vale: Boot, Raglan (Gibbons, 60), Pugh, Worrall (Harness, 72), Montano, Barnett, Forrester (Whitfield, 72), Smith, Tonge, Howkins, Hannant

Subs not used: Howe, Davis, Hornby, Wilson

Booked: Hannant

Exeter City: Pym, Sweeney, Tillson, Harley, Stockley, McAlinden (Jay, 65), Moxey, Wilson, Taylor, Storey, Boateng

Subs not used: Jones, James, Simpson, Seaborne, Croll, Edwards

Booked:

Attendance: 3,138


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