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Match Reports


26 December 2023

Match Reports


26 December 2023

It was a game of two halves at Vale Park on Boxing Day where Barnsley edged out their hosts to maintain their impressive form.

First half goals from Adam Phillips and John McAtee (x2) proved to be enough for the Reds in Burslem despite a Port Vale fightback in the second half.

There was a scrappy feel to this clash in the opening stages where other than a couple of forced corner kicks that came to nothing for our hosts, both sides were struggling to find any kind of fluency with their play.

That altered on 17 minutes when Neill Collins' men edged in front. It was a well-crafted opener with Herbie Kane - having already fired over the bar from a similar position 25 yards from goal - this time electing to float a cross to the back post that was met perfectly by Phillips whose header was clinical, aimed into the opposite corner of Connor Ripley's goal. 

Following the second phase of a Vale set-play, Ethan Chislett spun on the edge of the Reds' box, half-volleying a strike towards goal that saw Liam Roberts get a finger to it and ensure that Barnsley's lead remained intact. 

That lead was doubled shortly after as Devante Cole skipped beyond Jesse Debrah down the left flank before crossing low for the arriving McAtee to sidefoot home, first time with his left boot, 10 yards from goal. 

Five minutes later McAtee had his seventh goal in as many games as after Maël de Gevigney had nipped in to rob Ryan Loft just over halfway, the on-loan Luton Town forward took a touch before smashing home a venomous effort from all of 35 yards!

Some unorthodox defending from Jordan Williams saw his diving header thwart Chislett who looked to be in on goal otherwise. 

And right on the stroke of half time Corey O'Keeffe thought he'd made it 4-0 but his near post header from Kane's corner kick was well saved by Ripley.

HALF TIME: Port Vale 0-3 Barnsley

During the interval Collins replaced Luca Connell who had been booked in the opening 45, bringing on Jon Russell in his place. But the Jamaican international was soon down needing treatment for a knock that he would eventually shake off. 

The home side were a different proposition after the break and the lively Chislett thought he'd got his team back into the match when finishing low beyond Roberts from just inside the box but the assistant referee had flagged for offside.

Whilst not as enterprising in the second period, the Reds were comfortable but following another three changes around the hour-mark, the tide began to turn somewhat. However, the game could have been put to bed on 65 minutes when Sam Cosgrove - on as one of those substitutes - flicked the ball on and Kane looked to bear down on goal. Unfortunately, having moved the ball onto his stronger right foot his eventual strike was straight at Ripley in the Vale goal.

Phillips would then try a 40-yard screamer, seeing Ripley off his line but unlike McAtee earlier, his range was a little off, the shot blasted a foot or so wide of the goal. And immediately following that effort, Port Vale did hit back and it was Chislett getting himself on the scoresheet, as he twisted and turned, cut inside from the left and curled the ball into the far corner to reduce the deficit.

Reds' stopper Roberts later denied Ben Garrity who tried a similar finish before also clutching onto a James Wilson header point blank from a couple of yards out. But, Vale would grab a second midway through seven minutes of added time when sub Jack Shorrock, just 16-years-old nodded in a cross to give his side hope of completing a remarkable comeback.

But the Reds held on for a seventh away win of the campaign, moving onto 41 points but remaining seventh in the Sky Bet League One standings.

FULL TIME: Port Vale 2-3 Barnsley

Roberts, O'Keeffe, Williams, de Gevigney, McCart (Łopata), Cadden, Phillips, Kane, Connell (Russell), McAtee (Jaló), Cole (Cosgrove).

Unused: Killip, Cotter, Styles.

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