Date: 5th March 2011 at 10:09pm
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Vale survived a nervy finish, but hung on deservedly to beat a poor Macclesfield side courtesy of goals from Lee Collins and substitute Louis Dodds.

Jim Gannon made only one change to the side that beat Aldershot last week. Stuart Tomlinson, who suffered a recurrence of his hip injury, had to settle for a place on the bench despite returning to training on Friday. Make of that what you will.

The visitors made their intentions clear by selecting Tyrone Barnett as a lone striker, and truth be told never remotely threatened to take anything from the game.

Vale made a bright start to the match, with the consistent Adam Yates delivering an early cross that the giant Brown in the Macclesfield defence needed to be on guard to clear. Sam Morsy showed some early glimpses of his ability, over hitting a through ball to Marc Richards, but the young midfielder was to play a key role in Vale`s success.

It was Yates, again, supporting in attack that had the Valiants first real opportunity to go ahead. Tom Pope held the ball up well down the right hand channel, and his cross was cleverly layed off by his strike partner Richards, but Yates couldn`t keep his left footed strike on target.

The home side enjoyed the majority of possession and were slowly beginning to ask questions of the Town backline. A succession of corners came and went and Richards fired wide from a free kick just outside the area.

With Gary Roberts serving the final game of his three match suspension, Sam Morsy had the opportunity to stamp his authority on the encounter. The young Wolverhampton born midfielder looks a real gem in the making, displaying the touch and vision at times of a player capable of operating at a higher level.

Vale took the lead shortly before the half hour mark, when Collins rose highest to head home Kris Taylor`s corner at the far post. The ensuing celebrations made reference to the Gannon v Horsfield on the buses clash. Let`s hope the Vale boss sees the funny side!

A second goal looked inevitable as Vale continued to push forward. Bencherif was booked for pulling back Loft when through on goal. From the resulting free kick, Taylor`s sweet strike struck the upright, when looking for all money as if it was heading for the top corner of Veiga`s goal.

Exodus Geohaghon was even galloping forward, but his cross shot evaded everyone in the six yard box before being cleared. Morsy went even closer moments later, when his shot was hacked off the line. The half ended with a typically whole hearted block from McCombe, when he deflected Barnett`s shot behind for a corner.

Vale began the second half in similar mood. Morsy teed up Richards, but his shot from distance sailed over the cross bar. A crucial second goal nearly followed, as Vale produced the best passing move of the match. Loft and Pope combined to find Yates in the penalty box, but the full back was to be denied as his shot crashed off the underside of the bar, and Richards` follow up effort was cleared off the line. Despite coming under virtually no pressure, there was always the feeling Vale might pay for their profligacy.

After signing on for a further month, Tom Pope was continuing to impress with some intelligent hold up play, and the striker got on the end of Taylor`s cross, but headed straight at Veiga.

Gary Simpson tried to freshen up his side by replacing Hamshaw with Wedgebury, but Vale continued to threaten. Yates enjoyed plenty of the ball on the right hand side, and he forced another save from Veiga from a tight angle.

Gannon made his first change when introducing Dodds for Loft, and the former Leicester trainee was ultimately to seal the points for Vale. Morsy again demonstrated his talent, producing some nice trickery on the edge of the box, before his shot was deflected behind for a corner.

Dodds looked finally to have sealed the points in the 87th minute. Morsy was again involved, and after finding the substitute on the edge of the area, the midfielder produced a clinical finish, curling the ball expertly into the far corner, a timely reminder to Gannon of his ability, after struggling to find his way into the side since the Irishman`s arrival at Vale Park.

The Valiants had to endure a slightly tense final minute or so, after Town`s leading scorer Tyrone Barnett pulled a goal back from close range. It was not enough to deny Vale a thoroughly deserved victory, however.

The win sees Vale stay in sixth spot ahead of a massive game at Shrewsbury on Tuesday night. With only three points between the Valiants and second place Wycombe Wanderers, the possibility of automatic promotion remains. Despite all the recent distractions, performances have notably improved over the last month, and with key players Gary Roberts and Gareth Owen set to return, it is very much game on in the promotion stakes.

Man of the Match: Sam Morsy

A classy display from the youngster, fully justifying the praise Jim Gannon heaped on him following his performance against Stevenage. Comfortable in a deeper lying role, or supporting the front two, Morsy looks set to play a key role in the end of season run in. The prospect of Roberts and Morsy alongside either Griffith or Geoghaghon in midfield is certainly an appetising one.

 

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