Report: Port Vale 0-2 Millwall

FULLTIME

MILLWALL won their second league game in four days as they edged out Port Vale 2-0 in an intense contest at Vale Park.

Mark Beevers gave the Lions the lead on 57 minutes before Lee Gregory’s penalty sealed the victory in injury-time.

It was a deserved three points for the away side, but Port Vale missed a glorious chance to level in the second half when Uche Ikpeazu blazed over Jordan Archer’s bar from six yards.

And substitute Gregory made sure that it would be three wins in a row in all competitions when he went around Jak Alnwick to earn his side a spot-kick. Gregory had missed from 12 yards against Coventry but made no mistake this time, finishing low to Alnwick’s right.

Somehow the game had got to half-time scoreless after a flurry of chances in the first 15 minutes could have seen Millwall four up.

First Aiden O’Brien saw an effort headed off the line by Richard Duffy before Ed Upson tested Alnwick from 20 yards. The keeper tipped that over the bar but really excelled himself moments later to somehow palm Steve Morison’s header off the line.

Upson then thought he had scored when he shot from eight yards but Carl Dickinson executed a last-gasp clearance.

Morison went close again when he headed a corner inches wide, this time with Alnwick beaten.

But Port Vale almost snatched the lead at the break when Ikpeazu burst past Beevers to cross for Enoch Andoh whose header from a few yards out was brilliantly tipped over by Archer.

The second half started less frenetically but Millwall slowly built the pressure on Vale and Beevers gave his side the lead when he powered home Shaun Williams’ corner.

Vale had that Ikpeazu chance to eqaualise but the final score didn’t flatter the away side.

The set-up

Millwall boss Neil Harris kept changes to the minimum despite the squad having just three days to rest after Saturday. Sid Nelson was given every chance to make the starting line-up but hadn’t recovered from bruising to his ribs after picking up a knock at Gresty Road, so Byron Webster started beside Beevers.

Upson was again on the left with O’Brien up front and those two will wonder how they didn’t give Millwall the lead in the first half.

Neil Harris was happy to let Crewe have the ball last Saturday knowing they didn’t really have the firepower to pose a consistent threat to his back four, but it was evident from almost the first moments at Vale Park that this would be a completely different game with both sides committed to almost all-out attack at times.

This was the type of football that Harris spoke about wanting his side to play, and O’Brien is key to that style. He linked up well with Morison, who also attracted the home fans’ derision in the first half after going in hard on Duffy, even exchanging a few words with a section of supporters as he waited to throw the ball back to the home side. It might have been flirting with referee Oliver Langford’s notebook – but that aggression is something Harris wants in his side.

Beevers the leader

Even before he put his side ahead he was a mountain at the back and whatever happens Millwall fans will be glad he is committed to the club after being linked with a move back north some weeks ago.

He was involved in a running battle with powerful Port Vale striker Ikpeazu all evening and never once looked like backing off.

A key feature for Millwall this season, even in defeat, has been the emergence of players at different times. It was Fred Onyedinma in sparkling form in the early parts of the campaign before Archer began showing that he has the capacity to develop into a really top-class keeper.

O’Brien was the deciding element in the game at Gresty Road – and overall that has to be a source of huge satisfaction for Harris.

More cohesion

There’s certainly more of it from Millwall after they appeared ragged against opponents at The Den in August. There’s also more competitive areas in the squad. Ben Thompson did well when he made his first start, but Upson came back in when his form improved.

Shane Ferguson came on again for Onyedinma and he could pressure the 18-year-old’s place this weekend. Webster was also really solid at Vale Park and, with Harris showing he’s not afraid to leave players out if others emerge, Nelson might have difficulty getting back in.

There will be selection dilemmas this Saturday… but that will make a change from worrying about home form.

John Kelly

(@jkelly1882)

44 thoughts on “Report: Port Vale 0-2 Millwall

  • September 15, 2015 at 21:57
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    Feels like you've just bought a scratchcard and won!

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    • September 15, 2015 at 23:01
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      @NICKOLA: I thought the performance was even better tonight than against Crewe. Port Vale were a much more physical and direct side (plus with the usual dodgy officials behind them), but we still looked the better side. It was a bit nervy at 1-0, but we fully deserved the 2-0 scoreline. We've obviously got to sort out our home form now, but the team spirit is the best I've seen for ages.

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      • September 15, 2015 at 23:59
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        @Micky Lions: Stone wall pen for me Micky, think he dived earlier though. They played a blinder against 12 men. Even thought Beevers was solid at the back good goal. Beevers and Webster looked good tonight for me.

        Agree last 15 was nervy aged 10 years the pen sorted that out. Great Football to watch passed it well. One of the Port Vale supporters shook my hand on the way out and said well done, think your lot will win the league. :-)

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  • September 15, 2015 at 22:01
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    The emergence of archer, and the return of Carlos and obrien have given the whole squad a lift!! Really pleased for Neil and the team. Hard work is definitely paying off. Onwards and upwards. COYL.Miiiiiiiiiiii

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  • September 15, 2015 at 22:01
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    now is the time to get in extra quality - don't wait for the form or luck to change - we might be 2/3 players from consistent top 6 play

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  • September 15, 2015 at 22:04
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    Hopefully we will have a decent crowd on Saturday to get behind the team.They deserve it after they're recent efforts.Well done Wall & in particular Archer,Carlos & Chopper!

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    • September 16, 2015 at 18:07
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      @the verminhater:
      Well let's just makes sure the usual a.s.s.h.o.l.e.s keep off the players back if they make a mistake. This season at home some of the support may as well f.e.c.k. Off and stay away because they are part of the problem. If you come to watch, be supportive not abusive to our players...give the visitors holy hell but don't smash our players confidence by ragging at them within the first 3mins of play.
      Let's give the lads all the encouragement and support they need. We've seen what they can do and I think more to come....

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  • September 15, 2015 at 22:04
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    Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it starts to get better. Well done Millwall, three wins in a row and three clean sheets. Bloody marvellous Lions.

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  • September 15, 2015 at 22:06
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    Listened to first half on radio at work, sounded like we was playing strong quick and aggressive football. Commentators were even impressed, this is what we have been asking for. Don't always get you results but it does on occasions. We finally seem to have a reasonablly settled team which is the best news of all. Definately need to keep it fresh though so maybe paris and ferguson have a big role to play. Southend looks a banana skin on saturday. Hopefully a big performance but aslong as we don't lose and get all the negative home remarks. A lot more positiviy now, there will be tough periods again soon but just got to stick in there. A 10th placed or so finish in my eyes would be a great season so something to build open. We deserve a few good results as supporting the lions is hard!!

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  • September 15, 2015 at 22:06
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    Fantastic result against a decent League 1 team. heard a rumour it could all kick off Saturday so we might be forced to play all our games away : )
    Seriously, beat the whelks on Sat and top six after only 8 games!? What a brilliant turnaround by Neil and the boys! COYL NOLU

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  • September 15, 2015 at 22:12
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    How anyone could of questioned bombers tactical nous is beyond me ! roll on saturday !

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    • September 15, 2015 at 22:51
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      @bollocky: Well said blocky. Neil doesn't look so naive now after giving youth a chance and three away wins! Let's get behind the boys on Saturday and create a positive atmosphere ⚽️

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      • September 16, 2015 at 00:45
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        @TURBO_COYL: as a scotish fella once said "you'll never win anything with kids" lol

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  • September 15, 2015 at 22:12
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    Well done to all the lads. Great result Bomber could at last be jelling. Well done Gregs, still had the balls to take pen. Lets keep the momentum going.

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  • September 15, 2015 at 22:22
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    Superb - great performance from all who played. Still think we need a couple of players in to make a real challenge but I'd be happy to be proved wrong.

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  • September 15, 2015 at 22:30
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    As the legendary man shittu one's said THAT'S WHAT WE DO!!!

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  • September 15, 2015 at 22:32
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    looked like a bit of a dive from Gregory and not a great pen but it went in

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  • September 15, 2015 at 22:35
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    Is this the same Millwall that all the negative minded have been slagging off .Yes it is just a few suttle changes starting at the back no D Ford CARLOS at right back AND TC where he belongs the mid field starting to gel and goals comming from our strickers . we have more waiting to take their places if those chosen dont perform have faith there is 39 games to go

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  • September 15, 2015 at 22:38
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    Webster and Beevers did a good job today, what a difference it makes for both players when they have disciplined full backs either side of them. Best centre back pairing at our club in my opinion

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  • September 15, 2015 at 22:38
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    Well done wall and Harris made my day. Now for the big challenge which is getting rid of this poor home form. I'm not counting a win in the Mickey Mouse cup. Fa cup and league are all that matters. We haven't won a league home game in over a year and Saturday is a great time to get one. Coyl

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  • September 15, 2015 at 23:12
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    Lots to cheer for Saturday - which should keep the boo boys quiet for a while and that'll be the best start for the players.

    Need to get the gd positive - very important.

    Can't wait to get down there ...

    Roll on Saturday (and I haven't said that for a long, long time!)

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    • September 16, 2015 at 01:10
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      @kitch: To be fair, as supporters we've had a hell of a lot to be unhappy about for some time. I honestly didn't see this turnaround happening, but its great to see. Tonight they played like a promotion-chasing team and hopefully they can start showing the same confidence at home on Saturday.

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  • September 15, 2015 at 23:25
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    This was a tremendous win and performance. Above all it was a TEAM effort so let's not start picking out individuals, every player made a positive contribution, no ratings please.
    One important factor is that Neil kept to the same side and has to continue that trend. I must confess to having serious doubts a few games ago and I do not deny that I got some things wrong. Congratulations to the lads and 200 plus supporters who made the arduous journey, Now pick up the home form. Brilliant.

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    • September 16, 2015 at 00:43
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      @Peckhamlad: Don't think you got it wrong mate, it was dire,. Archer, Abdou, Edwards and O'Brien all coming back, or in the case of Archer, in, have raised the level of performance of all the players. I know we had no choice, but I thought it was a big ask to play so many youngsters at once. They will have a big part to play but some need to be used sparingly and alongside some of the mainstays of the side. Roll on Saturday!

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  • September 15, 2015 at 23:42
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    This was a brilliant team performance. Goalie is a breath of fresh air, as is fossil right back. Beevers and Webster contained the big youth up front for them. Nothing from the ref- you'd have to have been there to see how one sided he was. Unbelievable. Massive 3 points and BELIEF. Should push us to get out of this two Bob league.

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    • September 16, 2015 at 00:03
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      @sl28: Yep spot on, exactly as I saw it 12 against 11 2-0 stick that up your Jacksy ref.

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    • September 16, 2015 at 01:00
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      @Peckham exile: referee was a complete knob but even he couldn't wave play on after greggs was hacked down

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      • September 16, 2015 at 01:09
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        @Jim28: Too right Jim, Wish I knew you were there could have had a pint, Andy

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  • September 16, 2015 at 00:14
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    Well done wall not a coincidencevthat carlos change is significantvthe guy justbplays football the right way and we look dangerous now and solid at the back with jordan giving the back 4 some cover at long last now lets sort these plastic wet spam mugs on saturday with anotherc3 points millllllllllllllllll

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  • September 16, 2015 at 01:10
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    Guys - let's be real with this. Two facts:

    1) we are a small club that in real terms means we often live outside of our means. How many of us would love a Bentley but can't afford it? The reality is we don't buy a Bentley because it would make us bankrupt. Our football club is the same. Don't expect a Bentley's when we can only afford a Ford Sierra.
    2) if someone offered you tomorrow a 30% pay rise to do the same job as you are doing today you'd take it. Our players are the same. We shouldn't criticism them when they do exactly that and move to a club that will pay them more. Rightly or wrongly that's the way of football today and we aren't changing it.

    So my point.. We have a manager that knows the club and whist inexperienced is a better call for manager than the last two. He's building a side from youth that will either (a) result in promotion (b) be sold after promotion at a profit or (c) be as much as a disaster as a side we've seen in the last 5 years. Personally I think options one or two give a good result. As a supporter I'd like to see us with the same squad in the Prem in three years. As a realist our best hope is option (b) with a dream of (c). In the meantime lets get behind the team we care about on Saturday and make a noise for the good times to come. Our home form is s**** and the supporters have as much to answer for that as the players. Let's create that old fashion buzz at the den and support a team that whilst not everyone's fantasy football team is a team we now know can deliver in this league.

    Let's fooking do this. Promotion and even the championship is a real reality. Let's start believing it!!

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    • September 16, 2015 at 01:42
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      @man-and-boy: Why do you say we're a small club - we're just not a big club, that's all. I hate all this fatalistic talk, like last season’s punching above our weight stuff - I don't remember anyone ever talking like this in the past.

      For many reasons, our gates aren’t as good as they could be, but our pedigree over the past 50 years is as a second-tier club (albeit a lower table one). Money might have changed lots of things in football, but the Millwall I grew up supporting had little respect for other clubs or their relative size. I still look down my nose at the likes of Watford & Swansea in the Premiership, never mind half the Johnny-come-lately clubs in the Championship. Likewise I’ve got no time for either Ambler and Berylson, who’ll no doubt both be gone as soon as they can.

      So let’s get back the ‘F*ck Em All’ mentality - no more ‘small club’ talk or any of the fatalistic Ambler spin.

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  • September 16, 2015 at 06:02
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    Wins breed confidence Win sat and there all be looking. Well done the Wall

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  • September 16, 2015 at 08:17
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    Great result, big well done to die hards that went, let's make some noise sat.

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  • September 16, 2015 at 08:39
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    Should have been at least 3-0 but it turned out 2-0 which is good!

    Man of the match for me should be Archer,Fred or Carlos

    NOLU WDC COYL

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  • September 16, 2015 at 08:46
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    After the bonus of two Away wins,we must take advantage in the next two Home games.
    The return of Edwards is a big lift for the team.
    O`Brien scoring is also a big lift and could get Gregory going.
    We had plenty of chances last night and seeing the chances on Sky their Keeper had a blinder.
    Lets hope the confidence in the team gets the HOME form up and running.

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  • September 16, 2015 at 09:16
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    Had a nosey on the port vale forums to see what their lads thought of us.All in all a lot of praise and comments about what a good side we were,nice to hear!!

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  • September 16, 2015 at 16:20
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    I’ll hold my hands up I have been critical over the last few weeks and that is a hangover from last season’s complete collapse.
    But we as fans really need to manage our expectations, we won the first game and were going to storm the league, we lose a couple and we aren’t even good enough for this league and are heading to League 2, we win 2 league games on the spin and we are going to win the league again. Lets just take a deep breath, chill out and realise we will win, we will lose, we may draw, we all just need to stay calm, if we lose don’t worry we will get the points later. I still don’t believe the club is in a good place, no investment, and Harris is probably not the long term solution, but this is the hand we have been dealt, play the game.

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  • September 16, 2015 at 22:58
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    Archer what a guy.... Port vale stewards are idiots, .. This is the Millwall way. Let em come. This is how it feels.

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