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Match Reports

Full-time: Port Vale 2, Robins 2 – report & highlights

15 December 2018

Cheltenham Town's revival under boss Michael Duff continued on a bitterly cold afternoon at Vale Park, earning a hard fought draw in testing conditions.

The Robins were the better side from start to finish and it looked as though they had grabbed all the points in the final minute when Nigel Atangana slotted home from 12 yards.

But Antony Kay's header two minutes into added on time salvaged a point for the home side to frustrate the 100 freezing travelling fans.

Sam Jones had levelled the match midway through the first half after Cristian Montano handed the home side an early lead.

Boss Michael Duff will be disappointed with the manner of the injury time goal that cost them the win but he will be pleased with his improving side's confident display here.

Duff made three changes to the side that dramatically defeated Grimsby Town with a late, late goal of their own at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium seven days ago.

In came defender Jordon Forster, back after serving a one-match suspension, while Conor Thomas replaced the injured Jacob Maddox in five-man midfield.

Jones started alongside Luke Varney in attack with Vale loanee Tyrone Barnett missing out as a result of the agreement between the two clubs.

Second year scholars Archie Brennan and Camden Duncan were named on the bench for the first time.

There was an early sight of goal for Will Boyle but Chris Hussey's cross from the right was a touch too high for the Yorkshireman to reach.

Vale though took the lead through Montano, who arrived at the far post to prod home after Tom Conlon supplied a low cross from the left.

It was a heat move but it was far too easy from a Cheltenham perspective.

The Robins responded well, Varney glancing a header narrowly wide after a decent ball by Boyle.

Luke Hannant could have doubled the lead in the 21st minute but Flinders got down well to prevent the striker from scoring.

Varney then went close again after a well worked move initiated by Hussey down the left, playing in Jones and then Thomas to tee up the evergreen striker but his angled effort was blocked.

However a moment later Jones went one better, getting his side back on terms with 26 minutes on the clock.

Ryan Broom picked it up down the right and with his first meaningful contribution, tested Scott Brown from the angle of the box.

The former Robins number one dived low to his right but could only parry it into the path of Jones who made no mistake from close-range to net his second of the season.

At the other end Montana tried to lob Flinders, but his effort dropped over the bar while Connell Rawlingson should have done better with a free header seven minutes before the interval.

Cheltenham started the second period well, forcing Brown into a couple of early saves.

First Varney tried his luck from distance and then Hussey capitalised on some sloppy defending to exchange passes with Chris Clements for a short corner before unleashing an effort into the top right-hand corner, only to be denied by a fine fingertip save.

For Vale Montano hooked a volley wide, then Manny Oyeleke blasted over from a promising position down the inside right channel.

The chances were symptomatic of the game in that both sides carried a threat going forward but looked equally fragile at the back.

Alex Addai replaced Varney with 22 minutes remaining and almost scored with his first touch, escaping down the right before shaving the right post with a low drilled effort.

The diminutive winger has been in fine form of late and caused the Valiants defence plenty of problems in his latest cameo here, seeing another chance saved by Brown five minutes later.

He turned his marker and teed up Jones with five minutes left on the clock, but Jones' shot on the turn fizzed agonisingly wide.

But it was another lovely bit of play down the right that created a deserved second, cutting inside Mitchell Clark to roll one into the path of Atangana who cooly slotted home his second of the season from 12 yards.

It looked like the winner but Kay headed home two minutes into added on time, meeting a Tom Conlon corner with a simple header to earn Vale a share of the spoils.

PORT VALE (4-3-3): Brown; Rawlinson (Clark 62), Smith, Legge, Vassell; Oyeleke, Kay, Conlon; Montano (Quigley 85), Pope, Hannant. Subs not used: Hornby (Gk), Gibbons, Joyce, Dodds, Whitfield.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Flinders; Forster, Tozer (c), Boyle; Broom, Thomas, Clements (Mullins 90), Atangana, Hussey; Jones, Varney (Addai 68). Subs not used: Lovett (Gk), Mooney, Alcock, Duncan, Brennan.

REFEREE: G Salisbury

ATTENDANCE: 3,109 (100 from Cheltenham)


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