VALE DESERVED VICTORS
Port Vale deservedly won this opening match of the season with the 3-0 scoreline reflecting the difference between the teams.
The many positives that came out of the Birmingham City in midweek were notably absent as Barnet only rarely threatened to take the game to Vale.
Head Coach Mark Robson had selected an unchanged line-up from the side that had put in a good showing at St Andrew’s and it was pleasing to see both Mark Byrne and Barry Fuller fit again and able to take a place on the substitutes’ bench.
By being two goals down with less than twenty minutes on the clock the Bees gave themselves an enormously uphill task, one that on the day they were unable to rise to.
With both sides still testing the waters of the new campaign in the 7th minute Louis Dodds gave the home side a lead. He reacted first when a cross was headed clear as far as the edge of the penalty box and his volley was placed in the corner past Liam O’Brien.
Jon Nurse was then harshly adjudged to have made a foul challenge in the box on Tom Pope from which Jennison Myrie-Williams duly converted the spot kick on 19 minutes. The Bees did rally somewhat as half-time approached and Ricky Holmes cleverly set-up Nurse whose effort hit the side netting. This could have been a key moment had it got in and might have started a comeback.
Vale did have their moments and were creating chances at an uncomfortable rate and looked to have control of the game.
The second half started brighter with the Bees showing renewed determination and vigour with Andy Yiadom making inroads down the right delivering the occasional dangerous ball into the box.
This bright spell sadly soon burned itself out and Vale were then able to reassume control of proceedings. In the 75th minute any faint hopes of getting something from the game were extinguished when Tom Pope with great individual skill turned this way and that in the box before foxing O’Brien to give the home side an unassailable lead.
Jordan Brown continued the good form he has displayed in pre-season and at Birmingham; the timing of his tackles being impeccable. Also impressive was Curtis Weston, on as a late second half substitute. He forced himself into the centre of the action and distributed the ball intelligently as well as showing a competitive edge.
Certainly not the start Barnet were looking for, but there are now two successive home matches against Bristol Rovers (this Tuesday) and York City (on Saturday) which provide opportunities to get the season up and running.