Date: 2nd September 2012 at 12:06pm
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Burslem Boy takes a look back at Vale’s draw with Torquay United…

Torquay United at home is not a fixture I look forward to. For a start, Torquay`s kit is an assault on the senses. Yesterday, the outfield players wore the Papal colours of yellow and white, while their goalkeeper was in fluorescent Protestant orange. And then there are their tactics: five in midfield, one up front, keep it tight, hope to nick a winner. They are not in any sense easy on the eye. It looked for a long time as though they were going to nick a winner yesterday – with their only serious attempt on goal. Vale kept creating chances and half-chances, but either no one was on the end of them, or they fell to the wrong player (notably McCombe) or Torquay got a body or a post in the way. The great Jimmy Sirrell used to say ‘the team that wins is always the better team; the rest is gossip`, but there was no way that Torquay were the better team in this game and they certainly didn`t deserve to win or, indeed, draw.

The Vale are certainly easier on the eye than they were last season (the pink kit notwithstanding). I am not entirely convinced by Neal, but it is difficult to form an opinion when he has nothing to do, and he does bring a much-needed air of calm to the defence. Duffy had his best game. He likes a tackle and his crossing was good. Loft had his hands full with Thompson for much of the game and didn`t get forward as much as he and we would like, but it was from one of his crosses that Saah obligingly scored the Vale goal. Morsy had another good game, Vale`s man of the match in my view. Shuker showed some improvement, but he still gave the ball away too often and his set pieces were disappointing. Myrie-Williams is undoubtedly a threat, but he dithers too often when in good positions. Torquay certainly feared him and doubled up on him as often as they could. Torquay`s debutant, Mackenzie, had an excellent game against Pope, who got far too many balls in the air. He holds the ball up much better when he gets it on the ground. Pope and Dodds didn`t really gell either. Vincent needs the ball in front of him and behind the full back. More than anything else he probably needs a goal. The most disappointing aspect of Vale`s performance was the way in which McCombe and Macdonald were bullied by Howe. Mr Howe is no athlete, but he put his considerable bulk about, helped by some indulgent refereeing, but McCombe and Macdonald, especially Macdonald, should not be looking to the referee for help. A man of Macdonald`s build should not be bullied by anyone, not even the Klitchskos.