Date: 9th December 2012 at 8:57pm
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Burslem Boy takes a look back at Vale’s defeat to Chesterfield

True football fans invest huge levels emotional energy in the fates of their clubs. This often leads to emotional volatility. Although some fans (but not this one) like managers who stand on the touchline (oops, wash my mouth out, in the ‘technical area`) behaving like fans (i.e. jumping up and down and gesticulating, thereby ‘showing they care`), managers are doomed if they start thinking and behaving like fans.

It was therefore marginally reassuring after Saturday`s dismal defeat by Chesterfield to hear Micky Adams say in his interview on ‘The Football League Show` that ‘some people could turn [Vale`s current form] into a crisis`, but he would simply get on with the job of getting us promoted. In order to do this, he will need to avoid bad days at the office like Saturday. He picked the wrong team and the wrong bench, failed until it was far too late to try and counter Chesterfield`s tactical dominance and made some bizarre substitutions. Chesterfield had been boasting all week about how they were going to set the team up and what they were going to do to the Vale, so no one had the least cause for surprise when they did just this.

Their three central midfielders totally dominated the game, despite heroic efforts by Burge and James. Marc Richards led the line well, showing good movement and was instrumental in both of Chesterfield`s goals. We were saved from a worse beating by his lack of pace. O`Shea was given the freedom of Vale Park and must at times have been in danger of agoraphobia. Their wingers pushed up against Vale`s full backs and negated them as attacking threats. Vale`s wingers, especially Vincent, were again ineffective. Talbot can add his name to the list of right-backs who have had Vincent in their pockets in recent weeks.

The decision to play two big strikers backfired badly. The splendid Pope only came into his own once Andrew was substituted. For much of the game Vale were stretched, with the front two isolated, the midfield two chasing shadows and the back four under the cosh. There was rarely an easy pass on and we were reduced at times, especially in the first half, to lumping the ball, reminiscent of some of the worse days of not so long ago. But for the truly excellent Neal it would have been a lot worse. No positives to be taken out of this defeat – not unless lessons are learned.