MATCH REPORT: Port Vale 1 Fleetwood Town 0

Conor McAleny
Conor McAleny
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Joey Barton took charge of the Fleetwood Town team as normal but saw his side lose 1-0 to Port Vale as David Amoo's sublime strike stole the headlines.

Amoo's 55th minute effort lit up a grey night at Vale Park and capped off a miserable day for the Town boss.

Barton was in the dug out after being charged with actual bodily harm following an incident at Barnsley that left their manager Daniel Stendel with facial injuries.

South Yorkshire Police released a statement this morning revealing that Barton, 36, will answer assault charges at Magistrates Court in Barnsley in October.
The alleged incident occurred in the tunnel area following Barnsley's 4-2 win over Town in a League One fixture at Oakwell on April 13.
Until the case is concluded it will be a case of business as usual at Fleetwood, with Barton set to remain in his role as head coach.
The club have no plans to suspend Barton, who took training as normal this morning and was in charge as normal at Vale Park tonight.

It was business as usual on the touchline as Barton fielded a new twist on the 4-4-2 formation.

But some familiar faces were omitted and the Gazette understands midfielders Kyle Dempsey and Jack Sowerby, forward Ash Hunter, skipper Craig Morgan and keeper Billy Crellin all missed the clash due to injury.

Ex-Oldham man Peter Clarke continued his trial with the club by starting alongside Nathan Sheron in central defence

Leeds loanee Lewie Coyle took on his usual right-back role with Danny Andrew at left-back.

New Sheffield United signing Paul Coutts started in the middle of the park alongside Rangers loanee Jordan Rossiter with Josh Morris and Wes Burns deployed on the wings.

Burns was fielded in a new left wing role with Morris on the right and Conor McAleny playing just off Paddy Madden.

But as the half progressed the 4-4-2 became more fluid with Town at times dropping to a 4-3-3 with Morris dropping back into a midfield role and Burns pushing up into a front three.

McAleny has returned from his loan spell at Kilmarnock sharp, hungry and determined to fight for his shirt.

Though once again he and Town lacked that all important goal.

But it was not through lack of trying.

McAleny and Madden look like they are starting to build a relationship up front and that lead to an early chance for last term's 19-goal hot-shot.

Madden latched on to a McAleny pass in the box in just the second minute but his first-time effort looped over the net.

The duo combined again with McAleny releasing Madden with a defence splitting pass but the Irishman had miss-timed his run and the flag was raised.

Town looked shaky at times at the back with Nathan Smith's header flying across the six yard box.

But it was Town who looked sharper in attack with McAleny again giving Vale's defence headaches but his header from a Rossiter centre was tame.

Town showed that fluidity with the ability to shift to a front three as McAleny lead a break away with Madden and Burns for company.

But the ex-Everton man took too long to make the pass with his cross towards the on-running unmarked Burns cleared with ease.

Though the forward was undeterred as he tried his luck from distance and saw his effort crash into the post.

Town again looked vulnerable to crosses as Amoo's left wing effort was glanced towards goal by Ryan Lloyd at the near post.

Lloyd had got ahead of Sheron to get the touch but it trickled past Cairns to safety.

That was to be Lloyd's last impact on the game as he went off injured with Town full-back Danny Andrew also pulling up.

He received treatment on the pitch and would eventually go off at half-time to be replaced by youngster Eddie Clarke.

And Town were made to rue not making their dominance in the opening 45 minutes as Vale took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half.

It took Cairns' cat-like reflexes to thwart ex-Blackpool man Mark Cullen in the first minute.

Cullen's looping header looked to be flying into the net but Cairns just managed to tip it over the bar to safety.

Tom Conlon also found space to loft the ball over the bar and Town did not learn their lessons.

Vale again were allowed too much time on the ball with ex-PNE player David Amoo doing the rest.

Amoo stood out in this Vale side, a man who stills looks too talented for the fourth tier of English football.

And he made his mark with a sublime 25-yard strike that left a helpless Cairns grounded as it flew into the top right corner in the 55th minute.

Then Barton started to ring the changes with Harrison Biggins on for Morris, Eastham replacing trialist Clarke and Dan Mooney, Macauley Southam-Hales and Barry Baggley replacing McAleny, Coyle and Coutts.

That saw Eastham take the captaincy from Coutts with Town retaining a similar shape.

It looked like Town would end the game in a clearer 4-3-3 formation with Burns and Mooney either side of Madden up front and Baggley, Rossiter and Biggins in the middle of the park.

But it was Vale who again looked the sharper and hungrier of the two teams in the second half.

Tom Pope came off the bench and gave Sheron a fresh headache.

The Town centre-half tussled with the forward as he threatened to run onto a long ball and stream towards Cairns.

Referee Mike Dean was quick to award a set-piece but Town survived.

As the substitutions kept rolling the competitive edge of the game faded with Town throwing on youngsters.

But they could not find a spark of inspiration in the final third and fell to their second defeat in a row as they failed to bounce back from a 1-0 defeat to Championship side Millwall.

Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Coyle (Southam-Hales, 63), Sheron (Hill, 81), P Clarke (Eastham, 62), Andrew (Clarke, 46), J Morris (Biggins, 58), Coutts (Baggley, 63), Rossiter, Burns (S Morris, 81), McAleny (Mooney, 63), Madden (Garner, 81). Subs not used: Cottam, Fowler.