Date: 23rd February 2014 at 1:15pm
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Vital reader Burslem Boy takes a look back at Vale’s home defeat to Crewe…

I described the recent home defeat to Swindon Town as ‘chastening`. Duly chastened, Mr Adams changed Vale`s system and personnel. You could argue that the changes met with some success. After three defeats (five goals scored, nine conceded), the team managed a win, a draw and a defeat (two goals scored, one conceded). But yesterday the system hit the buffers.

Vale were simply embarrassing. No one would have been more embarrassed than Mr Adams. Vale just did not look like a Micky Adams team. Micky Adams`s teams are hard to beat. We weren`t. Micky Adams`s teams are fit. Crewe looked much fitter, stronger and quicker. They actually bullied us. We were unable to match their intensity and movement. Micky Adams`s teams have strength of character and resolve. Only Tom Pope showed any of these qualities yesterday. It was a shambles from beginning to end. With better finishing Crewe would have buried us.

On a difficult, bumpy pitch, in a swirling, unpredictable wind, Vale looked tentative and confused virtually from the kick off. It was not a day for back passes. An early Joe Davis attempt to pass back to Neal should have ended in disaster, but Pogba fluffed his chance. This seemed to set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. The nearest the Vale players came to being competitive, was competing with one another to see who could make the most mistakes. Jones, who looked utterly lost on the left of midfield, was an early leader in this competition, though to be fair to him he did play better once he moved to left back after Mr Adams made two substitutions on the half hour. He could hardly have played worse.

Some callers to Praise and Grumble seemed to think that Mr Adams had corrected his ‘mistaken selection` by making the early substitutions, but Myrie-Williams and Tomlin both had awful games. As bad as Vale were, it was apparent that Crewe looked nervous and uncertain when the ball was played into the box. Neither Myrie-Williams nor Tomlin provided Pope with any service. The few decent balls came from Jones, Lines or Loft. Lines is a conundrum. He clearly has talent, but he makes no impact on the game. He has scored only one goal in the League this season. Yesterday, he passed backwards more than he passed forwards. He does not track runners or tackle. I don`t see how you can play him in a two-man central midfield. The team had no balance, width, pace or cohesion. Crewe ran through our midfield at will. Only Pope and Neal, who made a string of fine saves, and Knott, who made a late substitute appearance, carry any credit from this game.

Someone said to me the other week that Mr Adams was stalling on signing the contract, which may or may not have been offered, because his stock was high and he ‘had options`. If Vale continue like this he may find that his stock has collapsed and his options have evaporated.

I don`t know where we go from here. Well, I do actually, to Wolves next week. Oh joy!