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Port Vale 0-1 Coventry City

7 August 2012

Superb McSheffrey strikes hands Sky Blues victory in their penultimate friendly

Coventry City picked up a 1-0 pre-season friendly win over Port Vale thanks to a 25-yard strike from Gary McSheffrey at Vale Park.

McSheffrey struck a 25-yard effort beyond Port Vale 'keeper Chris Neal with three minutes of the first half to go to give Andy Thorn's men a deserved win with one pre-season game to go before the big 2012/13 kick off.

Thorn named a side for each half for the penultimate friendly of the club's pre-season campaign starting Joe Murphy in goal behind a back four of Jordan Clarke, Richard Wood, Reece Brown and Kevin Kilbane.

City played four across the pitch in a diamond with new signing Adam Barton and Carl Baker on the flanks, Billy Daniels in a holding role with Gary McSheffrey playing behind front two Callum Ball and Stephen Elliott Elliott in his first start for City since injuring his shoulder in the Sky Blues' friendly 8-0 win over Hinckley Utd.

It almost got off to the perfect start for City when Elliott played through strike partner Ball who went down in the area under a heavy challenge from Dave Artell only for the referee to wave play on.

Elliott's hard work then nearly carved out another chance for City on 19 minutes when he pestered Vale's Adam Yates and dispossessed the full back on the edge of his area before cutting back for Barton who took a touch before shooting staring at Neal.

Elliott then forced a save out of Neal with a shot from distance a minute later, the home 'keeper having to get down low to palm the effort away from danger.

He went just as close on 24 minutes when Carl Baker floated in a cross from the left, Elliott rising to meet it but steering his header just over the bar.

Port Vale had their best chance to open the scoring just after the half hour when Ashley Vincent beat the offside trap only to push his finish just wide of the foot of Murphy's far post.

City got their deserved lead though on 42 minutes when McSheffrey picked the ball up from 40 yards out, dribbled a further 15 before smashing a shot into the top corner past Neal.

Wholesale changes for City at half time saw Callum Ball and Joe Murphy the only retained players at half time with Thorn bringing on a back four of Joe Pegg, William Edjenguele, Kevin Malaga and Joe Henderson.

Trialist Steven Jennings took up the midfield holding role, flanked by Roy O'Donovan and Will Roberts with Cody McDonald partnering second trialist Peter Poloskei upfront.

Murphy was required to keep Vale at bay just before the hour when he required quick reflexes to palm away Tom Pope's header from six yards out.

Trialist Poloskei nearly had a dream start to his trial period two minutes later when he latched onto a ball from O'Donovan and fired a half volley from just inside the Vale area which rattled off the top of the crossbar.

Ashley Vincent had a half chance to net an equaliser for Vale with 20 minutes to go, beating the offside trap but running wide and firing a shot into Murphy's side netting.

Pope then had another close encounter with Murphy three minutes later, going one-on-one with the City 'keeper who was equal to his attempted finish, sticking out a right boot to divert the ball to safety in what proved to be the last real effort of the match, allowing the Sky Blues to pick up a second consecutive pre-season win.

Teams
First Half
Coventry City: Murphy, Clarke, Brown, Wood, Kilbane, Daniels, Baker, Barton, McSheffrey, Ball, ElliottĀ 
Port Vale: Neal, Yates, McCombe, Artell, Loft, Dodds, Purcell, Williamson, Morsy, Williams, Murphy

Second Half
Coventry City: Murphy, Pegg, Edjenguele, Malaga, Henderson, Jennings, O'Donovan, Roberts, Jeffers, Ball (McDonald 59), PoloskeiĀ 
Port Vale: Neal, Owen, Loft, Lloyd, Burge, Pope, Vincent, Shuker, James, McDonald, Davis

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