Burslem Boy takes a look back at Vale’s draw with Aldershot Town…
This was a game of two halves. In the first half the referee gave a foul, usually for Aldershot, whenever two players came within five yards of one another. I suspect the Assessor took him to one side at half time and said ‘look, old chap, this is a really rubbish game, why don`t you try and let it flow a bit more?`. If this advice was offered, it was certainly taken. In the second half he hardly gave any fouls, thus allowing Aldershot to mug us to their heart`s content. ‘Homers` seem to have gone out of fashion, but I bet we`ll probably get one on Saturday.
The first half was the worst game of football I have seen in a long time. The ball was almost never on the ground. Vale were second best to all loose balls, and there were a lot of them. We found it difficult to play through the midfield and the service to the strikers was dire. The full backs did not get forward to any great effect, though Yates did better than the disappointing Jones. Still, when Myrie-Williams scored a goal whose quality was completely out of keeping with the rest of the match on the stroke of half time, it was difficult to see Vale losing. Aldershot immediately pushed up on the restart. This was the tactic used with such disastrous effects by Burton Albion. I waited for us to hit them over the top, but nothing happened. The situation was crying out for Dodds or Shuker, players who can pick a pass, but what we got was Andrew. We got penned into our own half, fell deeper and deeper, failed to stop a flood of crosses from coming in to our box. An Aldershot goal was inevitable. We were lucky not to concede more.
This was a worryingly flat performance. Doubtless, more than one player was carrying an injury. Only Griffith seemed to be capable of playing at a high tempo. Myrie-Williams kept trying and was always a threat. But apart from them and Hughes until he was substituted no Vale player can look back on this game with pride. I have followed the Vale for too long to take anything for granted. We have three winnable games left, but they are losable games, too. The time has gone for carping about team selection, tactics and substitutions. We are in a battle and in a battle will not skill is what counts. Up the Vale!