Vital reader Burslem Boy takes a look back at Vale’s 1-1 draw with Brentford…
On 20 April Brentford were the width of a crossbar away from promotion to the Championship. Yesterday, it showed. They appear not to have indulged in self-pity as a result of their failure to go up automatically and then their play-off final loss to Yeovil Town. They looked a very good side: fit (fitter than us); quick; well-organised; confident. They will surely be in the hunt again this season, though on the basis of yesterday goals might be a problem. Despite their dominance Brentford created comparatively few clear-cut chances and were not sharp enough to take the ones they did, though this owed much to some desperate last-ditch Vale tackling and an assured performance in goal from Chris Neal. In the circumstance, Vale did well to take a point. I don`t suppose that all the teams in League One are the same standard as Brentford, which is re-assuring as I don`t fancy our chances of getting points if we have to spend the whole game on the back foot.
There were some good performances from the Vale, notably Neal, Yates, Griffith and Robertson. Jones laboured mightily despite being short of fitness. Tomlin worked hard, ran the channels well, held the ball up and looked our most dangerous player. But our two stars from last season, Myrie-Williams and Pope, were totally ineffective. Lines was poor, even his set pieces, from which much was expected, while Loft had a curate`s egg of a game.
Micky Adams is clearly keen to add defensive stability to the team, without compromising its cutting edge. His first attempt to do this was not a great success. Loft tucking in from the left opened up acres of space, which were exploited effectively by the impressive Logan, especially in the first half. As a result, we barely got in a decent cross all afternoon, the second half being especially barren. Pope had to deal with a series of long balls aimed at his head, which were gobbled up by Harlee Dean, who seems to have grown up over compensating for his girlie name. He had a very comfortable afternoon.
I can`t say I was over-impressed with the new referee shirts. Perhaps some psychologist thought a soft, ‘feminine` colour would defuse aggression. It clearly didn`t work with Dean and Dickinson. Perhaps they are colour blind. So, all together then, ‘who`s the small fey chap in the mauve?`