Extra homework needed as Stevenage left with more lessons to learn at Port Vale

Charlie Carter made a slight difference when he came on at half-time for Stevenage at Port Vale.

Charlie Carter made a slight difference when he came on at half-time for Stevenage at Port Vale. - Credit: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTO

Hopes that Stevenage could bounce straight back from their big defeat at home to Bristol Rovers were dealt a swift and brutal blow at Port Vale.

They went down to a 2-0 defeat courtesy of an own-goal and one for Ryan Edmondson.

The game was lost in the opening 12 minutes at Boro suffered some severe bus legs, not helped by a later than planned arrival at Vale Park.

And while there was a better showing after the break, a tactical switch being key to that, the defeat suddenly has them looking over their shoulders again in the League Two relegation battle..

They remain 19th but Oldham Athletic's draw at Colchester United leaves the second bottom Latics three points behind Boro.

Stevenage made four changes from the side that were thumped 4-0 by the Bristolians one week earlier.

In came Luther James-Wildin, Luke Prosser, Elliott List and Zain Westbrooke with Chris Lines, Jamie Reid, Bailey Clements and Michael Bostwick the men to miss out.

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For the hosts, former Boro favourite Tom Pett retained his place and was named captain in a side showing two changes from the midweek draw at Rochdale.

For five minutes there seemed to be a bit of hope that last week's aberration was a one off.

Norris won a free-kick early that allowed two crosses to go into the box and then List had sight of goal on the edge of the box but opted to pass rather than shoot.

That was as good as it got though in the first half as they found themselves 2-0 down quickly.

The first was credited as an own goal for Luke O'Neill but it was too east for the hosts.

A free-kick from the Vale left was clipped into the middle by James Gibbons and the header just helped it on its way into the far corner.

The second was way too easy too.

It started down the right wing and after being crossed into the middle, it was played out to  left to Gibbons again.

He turned inside O'Neill with the minimum of fuss and his low delivery was poked into the net by Ryan Edmondson.

Boro, playing with three at the back and wing backs, looked totally out of sorts and Christy Pym needed to push an Edmondson shot away to keep it at two.

They did finally stop the haemorrhaging but the odd chance that came, fell to the Valiants.

Ben Garrity came closest with a header from a corner but it was gathered by Pym as he scrambled across his goal.

But that was the big issue for Boro. It was still Vale who were creating anything despite the game being bogged down in midfield.

One really promising counter attack after Scott Cuthbert had made a last-ditch tackle ended with List's pass to Zain Westbrooke being intercepted.

But like the final pass, there seemed to be a lack of conviction in the attack, everything was all a bit laboured.

The half-time break saw a double change from Tisdale and a return to a flat back four.

Charlie Carter and Brad Barry came on with O'Neill and Cuthbert the men to be withdrawn.

Carter even had a shot two minutes in and while it was always going over, at least it was something to cling to for the few travelling fans behind that goal.

There was then a spot of pinball in the box after Jake Taylor got in down the left and Westbrooke had a shot.

It was enough for the Vale crowd to raise their voices and cajole their team into raising the game.

Jake Taylor then had shot blocked which turned that support into frustration from the home terraces.

Fortunately that was nipped quickly in the bud by a substitution, Chris Hussey coming on somewhat surprisingly for Gibbons.

He went off on the far side and as he walked around the pitch, he was given a standing ovation from each stand he passed.

The change just lifted the home players too and Edmondson was denied by a good tackle from Prosser

In fact the Vale subs helped halt the head of steam being built up by the visitors and the last of them saw another fan favourite, David Amoo, brought on.

He put a header past the post and although Arthur Read had a couple of dangerous runs into the Vale box, they only led to one shot being blocked.

If last week was the first real examination of Stevenage under Tisdale, then this will not have eased the homework coming  Boro's way.

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Stevenage: Pym, James-Wildin, Cuthbert (Carter 46), Prosser, List (Read 68), Taylor, Norris, Westbrooke, Vancooten, Upson, O'Neill (Barry 46).

Subs (not used): Walker, Andrade, Reid, Clements.


Port Vale: Holy, Gibbons (Hussey 60), Walker, Hall, Smith, Worrall (Amoo 74), Garrity, Wilson (Charsley 66), Proctor, Pett, Edmondson.

Subs (not used): Stone, Martin, Harratt, Cooper.

Goals: O'Neill (og) 6, Edmondson 12

Booked: Walker 2


HT: Port Vale 2 Stevenage 0

Referee: Scott Oldham (Blackpool)

Attendance: 5,157 (74 from Stevenage)