Tony Mowbray handed debuts to new boys Jack Stephens and Baily Cargill as well as giving recent signing Darius Henderson his first appearance in a Sky Blues shirt...
Stalemate at Vale Park as City were forced to accept a share of the points against Port Vale. Reice Charles-Cook was City's star performer with a string of exceptional saves, despite conceding in the final 10-minutes to end the game 1-1.
The Sky Blues opened the scoring inside the first-half with a well-worked goal from Jacob Murphy, only to be cancelled out deep in the second-half by Vale substitute Sam Kelly from 25-yards.
Port Vale started the stronger of the two teams in the opening exchanges, enjoying the majority of possession. Reice Charles-Cook was in action early on for City with a succession of saves from Ajay Leitch-Smith and Theo Robinson.
Against the run of play, the first City chance was crafted by James Maddison who was bought down on the right-hand touchline. Murphy took the resulting free kick and found debutant Baily Cargill in the Port Vale box who headed narrowly over.
Port Vale began to find some rhythm on the 15-minute mark; working it in to some space on the right flank, the ball found Theo Robinson free at the back post who headed in to the hands of a thankful Charles-Cook.
City were forced in to an early substitution on the 32nd minute when Martin Lorentzson was unable to continue through injury. Peter Ramage replaced the Swiss in central defense, pushing Sam Ricketts out to right back. Shortly after, Port Vale were also forced into a change as the injured Ryan Inniss was replaced by Ryan McGivern at the heart of Vale’s defence.
The first City chance of note fell to League One’s top goal scorer, Adam Armstrong as Maddison took the ball down on his chest and fed a nicely weighted pass into the path of City’s number nine. Armstrong skipped passed two oncoming Vale defenders but fired down the throat of Jak Alnwick who saved comfortably.
City were the first to make a breakthrough in the 41st-minute. Clever link up play from the Sky Blues' front three released wide man Jacob Murphy inside the area. Maddison played a one-two with Armstrong who fed Murphy and he completed the move with a confident sidestep around the goalkeeper to slot in to an empty net.
Charles-Cook will be considered as the half-time hero for Sky Blues fans as a strong performance from the young shot-stopper kept Port Vale at bay on a number of occasions. Some commanding goalkeeping from the 21-year old also saw him claim a multitude of dangerous looking crosses, notably from Vale’s Matty Kennedy.
The second half began much in the same way as the first, with Vale pressing high up the pitch. Leitch-Smith was the man with the first chance for Vale in the 55th minute. The midfielder picked the ball up on the edge of City’s 18-yard box and fired toward Charles-Cook’s left-hand corner.
The City keeper was equal to the shot and parried for a corner. The second chance came minutes later as a Kennedy free-kick was deflected off the wall and wrong-footed Charles-Cook, who managed to scramble across his line and get an outstretched glove to the shot.
After soaking up a significant amount of Vale pressure, it was City’s turn to test Charles-Cook’s opposite number. Jack Stephens won the ball well in midfield and found Maddison in a pocket of space 10-yards short of the Port Vale box.
Maddison played a clever reverse pass to Armstrong whose shot rebounded off the legs of Alnwick. That was to be the 19-year olds last contribution as he was substituted for Darius Henderson (making his City debut).
The Valiants enjoyed their best spell of pressure in the closing stages, as the home side searched for an equaliser. Substitute Sam Kelly injected some pace in to the Vale attack in the closing stages and looked bright in and around the City box.
After a darting run in City’s final third and having waltzed passed two defenders Kelly fired in to the top left hand corner of Charles-Cook’s goal for the leveller.
City searched for a winner in the closing stages and won a succession of corners in stoppage time. Darius Henderson rose the highest for the final delivery and nodded the ball goalwards, only for Vale's Anthony Grant to cap a fine performance by turning the ball off the line.
A frantic end-to-end finish yielded no more goals and it finished 1-1 at Vale Park.
Coventry City: Charles-Cook (GK), Lorentzson (Ramage 33'), Ricketts (C), Cargill, Stephens, Stokes, Fleck, Rose, Murphy (O'Brien 80'), Maddison (Henderson 64'), Armstrong.
Subs not used: Burge (GK), Lameiras, Cole, Fortune.
Port Vale: Alnwick (GK), Purkiss, Dickinson (C), Duffy, Kennedy, Foley, Moore (Kelly 80'), Leitch-Smith, Robinson (Hooper 68'), Inniss (McGivern 36'), Grant.
Subs not used: Boot (GK), Yates, Brown, Campion
Attendance: 6,320 (1,604)
Yellow card(s): Darius Henderson