Port Vale player ratings from frustrating Stevenage stalemate



Port Vale remain unbeaten under new manager Darrell Clarke, but this forgettable goalless draw made clear there is plenty of work ahead.

The draw was about fair as Clarke showed more invention in his team selection than his side managed over the 90 minutes. In fact, the team and system were different but there were striking similarities to Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Leyton Orient in Clarke’s first game as his team produced plenty of effort but not enough quality to get the better of a visiting side who kicked off two places below Vale in 21 st .

Clarke made four changes, bringing in Leon Legge, Cristian Montano, Jake Taylor and Will Swan as Mustapha Olagunju, Alex Hurst and Kurtis Guthrie dropped to the bench and Dave Worrall missed out with an ankle injury.

The manager also produced a new formation, switching to 3-5-2 after starting 4-3-3 in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Leyton Orient.

That meant a back three of Nathan Smith, Legge and Crookes with James Gibbons and Cristian Montano as right and left wing backs, Luke Joyce, Jake Taylor and Tom Conlon in the midfield three and Devante Rodney partnering Swan up front.

PLAYER RATINGS

BROWN: Like his opposite number, he didn’t have a huge amount to do 6

GIBBONS: Still making his way to full match fitness. Right-wing back should suit the attacking right back 6.

SMITH: Steady on the right of the back three having also impressed in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Leyton Orient 6.5

LEGGE: Made a welcome first league start since January 2, and made the most of his chance with a commanding performance at the heart of the back three 7

CROOKES: Slotted in comfortably on the left of the back three having played there in Nottingham Forest’s academy and in his early says at Vale 6.5.

MONTANO: His highlight was a superb crossfield pass that almost freed Rodney through on goal. The left wing back worked hard but it didn’t happen for him in the final third 6.5

JOYCE: Back in a midfield three having done pretty well in a two on Saturday, but forced off in first-half injury time after picking up a knock 6

CONLON: Worked hard defensively but we know he can threaten more going forward. 6

TAYLOR: Recalled for his first start under Clarke but struggled to get into the game 5

RODNEY: Started brightly but faded as Vale struggled up front 5

SWAN: The on-loan Nottingham Forest striker was given his first Vale start but also faded after a bright start 5

SUBS:

BURGESS (Joyce, 45 + 3): Came closer than anyone to scoring with a superb swerving volley that was only inches wide 6.5

CULLEN: A few nice touches and no lack of effort but none of the strikers had much in the way of chances 5.5

GUTHRIE (Rodney, 84): Dropped from the starting line up. Got his chance late on but not on long enough for a mark against his old club

Not used: Mills, Hurst, Scott, Olagunju.





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