Port Vale made a positive start to their EFL Trophy campaign as they edged out Tranmere Rovers at Vale Park this evening.
The game finished goalless after 90 minutes but the Vale picked up a bonus point after winning the penalty shoot out 4-3.
Dino Visser excelled, making a super stop late in the second half before three saves in the shoot-out saw off Rovers. So, this amounted to an encouraging evening for the new keeper, and also for manager John Askey who had made nine changes with Saturday’s League two game at home to Crawley in mind.
Tranmere fielded a strong side, but honours were even over the game before Vale came through in the shoot-out.
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Dino Visser: Fabulous save to deny Morris late in the second half before three stops in the shoot out. His late efforts made him unquestionably the man of the match 8
Nathan Smith : Moved out to right back so Shaun Brisley and Adam Crookes could get a game in central defence. The vast majority of Smith’s 201 Vale appearances have been in the centre but he played on the right at the end of last season and did well. He looked to get forward at every opportunity here 6
Shaun Brisley: Has the difficult task of trying to dislodge Nathan Smith or Leon Legge from the central defensive spots, although Smith’s move to right back could be one way for him to get in the side. Solid performance on an evening in which he was made captain 6
Adam Crookes : Good to see him get a run out as John Askey used the game as an opportunity to look at him in central defence. He’s probably down the pecking order at left back and in the middle at the moment but is bound to be needed at some stage this season 6
David Fitzpatrick : Continued the positive impression made since signing this summer. Tidy footballer, good on the ball and has made a very strong case to start against Crawley 6
Manny Oyeleke : Given the midfield holding role and really took his chance, repeatedly winning the ball and using it well. Sensibly only given 45 minutes on his return from a calf injury but used the time to remind us what a good player he is 7
Danny Whitehead : Pushing hard for a place in Vale’s midfield three for the Crawley game. It looks like a choice between him and Scott Burgess to line up with Luke Joyce and Tom Conlon. 6
Dan Trickett-Smith: Couldn’t have worked harder in a rare first team outing. Tired a little at the end but that was understandable considering the effort he’d put in 6
Alex Hurst: Another who worked his socks off, in his case on the right of the front three. We’ll have to see if he can force his way into the first team plans or his best option is regular games on loan 6
Theo Robinson : Set up Manny Oyeleke for Vale’s best chance with a lovely cross. Did his cause no harm for the central striking role against Crawley 6
Cristian Montano : An impressive return to the side after a hip injury. Playing on the left of the front three he was constantly driving forward. Showed he’s a strong option on the wing if the left back spot is taken by Fitzpatrick 7
Tom Conlon (Oyeleke, 46): Steady in the central midfield role in front of the back four 6
Devante Rodney (Montano, 46): Played on the left of the front three and looked the most likely player to score. Went close with a long-range effort 7
Mark Cullen (Theo Robinson, 71) : Didn’t get much of a sight of goal in open play but took his penalty well 6
Not used: Brown, Worrall, Mills, Burgess.
Tranmere: Murphy, O’Connor, Ridehalgh, Monthe, Morris, Spearing (Lewis, 62), Khan, MacDonald (Walker-Rice, 79) Payne, Clarke (Ellis, 62), Banks.
Subs: Davies, Nelson, Hayde, Burton.
Referee: Declan Bourne