Port Vale 2 Fleetwood Town 1: Losing start for boss Brown

Scott Brown’s first game in charge of Fleetwood Town ended in defeat, with hosts Port Vale coming from behind.

By Mike Glendinning
Saturday, 30th July 2022, 5:26 pm

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Town escaped relegation on goal difference alone last term and made the ideal start to the season opener, with Dan Batty scoring inside six minutes at Vale Park.

But defensive set-piece frailties proved Town’s undoing as they conceded twice in two first-half minutes to fall to defeat.

Ellis Harrison on the attack for Fleetwood at Port Vale Picture: ADAM GEE

In Brown’s first competitive game in management, he started Jay Lynch in goal while the midfield saw Brendan Wiredu and Josh Vela both make debuts, the latter captaining the side. Another new recruit, Promise Omochere, led the line in attack.

And the former Bohemians man had a hand in Fleetwood opening the scoring just six minutes in.

Omochere got the better of Connor Hall and reached the byline before pulling the ball back for Batty.

Though Batty scuffed his finish into the ground, it still had enough on it to find the back of the net.

After a season of struggle last time around, it was just what the visitors – who only arrived in Burslem about an hour before kick-off – needed to kick-start a new term, with revived hopes and ambitions.

Batty had a half-chance to make it two when Paddy Lane slid him in but, from a tight angle, he couldn’t generate enough power to really trouble Aiden Stone in the Vale goal.

And that was about as good as it got for Fleetwood.

The hosts almost levelled when Jamie Proctor sent a fierce volley narrowly wide.

Harry Charsley’s neat feint made him the space to cross, and Tommy McDermott nodded on to Proctor, whose effort flew wide of Lynch’s post.

With half an hour played, however, two goals from Vale centre-backs in the space of two minutes turned the game on its head.

When a corner was palmed away by Lynch, Hall retrieved it close to the line. He showed impressive skills to turn his man and find fellow defender Nathan Smith, who made no mistake with his finish.

Another corner moments later led to the Valiants going 2-1 ahead.

Funso Ojo played the ball across and the waiting Hall calmly finished first-time into the bottom corner.

The rest of the first half, and 20 minutes of the second, passed with little incident, with Vale comfortable and Fleetwood labouring.

That uneventful spell was broken by Toto Nsiala, who was a foot away from an own goal.

With little immediate danger, and Lynch charging from his line to collect the ball, Nsiala knocked the ball past his keeper and both watched with relief as the errant pass rolled harmlessly out for a corner.

From the corner, Smith almost notched his second of the game, heading Worrall’s delivery over the bar.

Substitute Ged Garner came close to snatching a draw for the Cod Army but the hosts’ keeper Aiden Stone denied him, tipping his close-range header over the bar.

FLEETWOOD: Lynch, Johnston, Nsiala, Holgate, Andrew, Batty, Wiredu, (Garner 63), Vela, Lane, Omochere (Garner 73), Morris (Harrison 63); Subs not used: Cairns, Baggley, Earl, Hayes.

VALE: Stone, Cass, Smith, Hall, Worrall, Charsley (Conlon 90), Ojo, Benning (Hussey 90), Garrity, Proctor, McDermott (Holden 67); Subs not used: Jones, Walker, Forrester, Small.