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Match Reports

Port Vale 0-1 Notts County

Alessandra goal enough for three points at Vale Park

2 September 2017

Lewis Alessandra came off the bench to score with his first touch as Notts beat Port Vale 1-0.

Alessandra, who replaced Terry Hawkridge in the second half, turned the ball home from close range to give Notts the edge in a closely-fought contest.

Notts ended the game with 10 men after Shaun Brisley sustained an injury late on and was deemed unfit to continue.

Kevin Nolan made one change to the side that drew with Accrington last Friday.

Matt Tootle, red-carded in that match, missed out through suspension and was replaced by Nicky Hunt.

The sides exchanged half-chances in the opening exchanges and spectators had to wait until the 24th minute for the match's first opportunity of note.

It fell to Vale's David Worrall, who struck the post with an effort from the edge of the area.

Notts' response came in the 33rd minute when Jon Stead latched on to a bouncing ball over the top. Vale keeper Rob Lainton was caught in no man's land and Stead lifted the ball over him. It flew wide of goal, however, and Stead was unable to get to it in time to divert it into the empty net.

Worrall had another opportunity just before the break, volleying the ball wide after he was teed up in the area.

But 0-0 was how it stayed going into the interval.

There were no changes at the break and the hosts were left to rue two heroic pieces of defending from their former player Dan Jones shortly after the restart.

The first chance came after Hunt slipped on the halfway line, allowing Vale to play Tom Pope through on goal. Jones showed great pace to catch up with the forward, sliding in to take the ball just as Pope steadied himself for a shot.

Two minutes later, Gavin Gunning's header looked destined for the net but Jones positioned himself brilliantly to nod the ball off the line.

Nolan's first change followed shortly afterwards as Hunt, who had received treatment earlier in the half, made way for Rob Milsom. Elliott Hewitt moved to right back.

Shola Ameobi was replaced by Jonathan Forte shortly afterwards, before Hawkridge came off for Alessandra with 25 minutes to play.

And the winger made an immediate impact when Grant's cross caused chaos in the middle, allowing Alessandra to turn the ball home with his very first touch.

Notts could have made it two when, with a similar chance to Stead's in the first half, Forte failed to loft the bouncing  ball over the keeper.

Vale responded immediately and this time it was Adam Collin's turn to race off his line. He headed the ball clear from the edge of his area but it fell to a Vale man, who had an open net to aim for 35 yards out. Ryan Yates sensed the danger and did brilliantly to slide in and divert the ball away from goal.

Amid the chaos, Brisley sustained an injury and required lengthy treatment. He was able to walk off the field but couldn't continue, leaving Notts down to 10 men for the remaining moments. That meant another positional change for Hewitt, who slotted in alongside Richard Duffy in the middle with Alessandra going to right back.

Eight minutes were added on at the end of normal time and Notts could have made it two following a speedy counter attack. Alessandra was cynically brought down by Worrall as he raced towards the area, presenting Grant with a free-kick on the edge of the box. The loanee could only find the wall.

Grant had another opportunity when he wormed his way into the area only to see his shot smothered by Lainton.

But in the end a second goal wasn't required as the Magpies left Vale Park with three points and a clean sheet.


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