April 20, 2013
Vale's old friend earns them promotion
Former Port Vale defender Lee Collins scored an 86th minute own goal to secure his old club automatic promotion after a tense 2-2 draw at home to Northampton.
Centre-back Collins attempted to clear a harmless ball from Vale substitute Chris Birchall, but only succeeded in slicing it over his own goalkeeper Lee Nicholls from 12 yards.
Vale's vastly superior goal difference to challengers Cheltenham means Micky Adams' team will be playing in npower League One next season.
A carnival atmosphere before kick-off quickly turned sour for more than 11,000 Vale fans when the visitors took a third minute lead.
Ben Harding's right-wing corner found its way to the far post where Clarke Carlisle forced the ball in with a left-foot shot from four yards.
It was the visitors' first goal for 368 minutes, but they were soon close to a second when a slip by Liam Chilvers almost left Luke Guttridge in the clear.
Vale gradually got on top but Guttridge should have taken a simple chance in the 34th minute when he cracked a six-yard shot against the crossbar.
And that proved a turning point as Chilvers equalised after the Northampton defence failed to clear their lines from Jennison Myrie-Williams' 39th minute corner.
Tom Pope lifted a clever ball back into the six-yard box and Chilvers steamed in at the far post to bury a downward header past Lee Nicholls.
Darren Purse's header was cleared off the line by Lewis Hornby as Northampton buckled as half-time approached.
But the visitors regrouped after the interval and a sublime 20-yard finish by Roy O'Donovan, who curled the ball high inside Chris Neal's right-hand post in the 69th minute, looked to have won it until Collins' late gaffe.
|Port Vale||Northampton Town|
|1 Chris Neal||21 Lee Nicholls|
|6 Darren Purse||30 Clarke Carlisle|
|25 Liam Chilvers||6 Lee Collins|
|2 Adam Yates||2 John Johnson|
|36 Daniel Jones||12 Ben Tozer|
|4 Anthony Griffith||4 Luke Guttridge|
|7 Doug Loft||11 Chris Hackett|
|9 Jennison Myrie-Williams||8 Ben Harding|
|29 Lee Hughes||22 Lewis Hornby|
|8 Louis Dodds||28 Roy O'Donovan|
|11 Tom Pope||29 David Moyo|
|12 Sam Johnson.||Dean Snedker 13|
|24 Richard Duffy||Nathan Cameron 15|
|5 John McCombe||Claudio Dias 25|
|15 Chris Shuker||Adebayo Akinfenwa 10|
|26 Chris Birchall||Jake Robinson 17|
|18 Sam Morsy||Lewis Wilson 16|
|22 Ryan Lloyd|
|Chris Birchall for Louis Dodds (73)|
|Sam Morsy for Anthony Griffith (73)|
|Chris Shuker for Darren Purse (77)|
|Lee Hughes (45)||Clarke Carlisle (12)|
|Luke Guttridge (72)|
|Chris Hackett (78)|
|· Squads: Port Vale | Northampton Town|