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REPORT: Coventry City 0-1 Port Vale - Sky Blues beaten at Vale Park.

Nathan Smith's winner gives Vale all three points...

26 December 2017

The Sky Blues have been defeated 1-0 by the Valiants at Vale Park.

Nathan Smith’s second half header was all that separated the two sides as Mark Robins’ side fail to complete their first double of the season.

City did come close through Marc McNulty and Max Biamou but both failed to get on the scoresheet.

Ahead of the game, everyone inside Vale Park thought that the Sky Blues would be shaping up as a five-at-the-back, with Tom Davies slotting in to make up the numbers. However, it was Jack Grimmers move to right-midfield that allowed Mark Robins to stick to the 4-4-2 formation that had worked so well over the previous two games.

Grimmer proved a threat in his advanced roll during the first half, helping to carve out the best of the Sky Blues’ early chances. On one occasion, the number two nutmegged former City star Danny Pugh before curing a cross towards Max Biamou only for Gavin Gunning to get there first.

Marc McNulty has been in fine scoring form over the recent weeks and the 25-year-old came close to extending his scoring run early on, chasing down Biamou’s flick-on but curling his effort over the bar.

Vale’s best chances came from set-pieces with Ben Whitfield’s glancing header the closest the home side came in the first half, but that was no trouble for Lee Burge.

The second half started brighter for the Valiants. Ben Whitfield’s pacey cross caught Burge unawares allowing Marcus Harness as free header at goal, but the number seven nodded over with the goal gaping.

Just after the hour mark the Sky Blues began to grow into the second half. Tom Davies’ long ball trickled through for McNulty to chase right to the by-line before pulling back for the onrushing Grimmer to strike but he could not beat Ryan Boot in the Vale net.

Duckens Nazon was introduced with 20 minutes as the Sky Blues almost fell behind. Harness again go on the end of some good Vale play but the wide-man blasted his shoot wide.

With ten minutes to go the home side would take the lead. Pugh’s cross was met by Nathan Smith at the front post and with a glancing header he was able to direct the ball over Burge and into the far corner. The Valiants had earnt themselves a deserved lead.

In final five minutes Jordan Ponticelli and Stuart Beavon were both introduced Mark Robins looked to get his side level but Coventry’s four strong attack failed to find themselves a breakthrough.

Goals: Smith 79’

Yellows: Tonge ’27, McDonald 35’, Davies 50’, Doyle 61’, Kay 71’.


Attendance: 7,127 (1,698 away)

Coventry City XI: Burge (GK), Willis (Ponticelli 83’), Davies, McDonald, Stokes, Grimmer, Shipley, Bayliss (Beavon 83’), Doyle (C), McNulty, Biamou (Nazon 68’).

Subs: O'Brien (GK), Haynes, Stevenson, Maycock.

Port Vale XI: Boot (GK), Davis, Kay, Smith, Pugh, Tonge, Gunning, Harness, Whitfield (Denton 67’), Pope, Barnett (Montano 45’).

Subs: Lainton (GK), Forrester, Turner, Kelly, De Freitas.

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