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Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!


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Project Port Vale

I have been meaning to document my successes and failures in this game world for sometime but have only now got around to it.

Keiran Smith mentioned that I should write about my experiences in this one as it is a major challenge turning around the fortunes of a league 4 team in deep trouble. To provide more information I am in EC 3002 and we are 2/3 of the way into season 2 (Port Vale finished 17th/20 in season 1). I hope you find the reports entertaining and you are more than welcome to ask anything about the set-up.

Background

Steven Bentley is appointed Port Vale manager on 12/09/2009 (25 games played) with the club facing oblivion. Port Vale are rock bottom of league 4 and there dismal record reads -

Played: 25

Won: 4

Drawn: 5

Lost: 16

F: 27

A: 47

GD: -20

Points: 17

Port Vale are 8 points behind the 19th placed team (AFC Bournemouth) with 13 games remaining. Port Vale had won 1 game in the last 19 (league games) and were without a win in 10 games prior to Steven Bentley’s appointment.

Port Vale are out of both the English Cup (Round 1 – lost 2-1 at Queens Park Rangers) and the English Shield (Round 2 – lost 4-2 on penalties after 1-1 draw with Crewe Alexandra).

Steven Bentley inherits a squad of just 23 players. The squad is low on confidence and ability. The club has a balance of £3.6m and a transfer budget of £2.4m. The club has been manager less for several months which has contributed to a lack of direction within the club.

Target: The Chairman has stated avoiding the bottom spot in the league is priority alongside building a squad to compete for promotion next season.

A section of the press conference at Vale Park that took is below:

Reporter (Port Vale Gazette): Mr Bentley, welcome to Port Vale, this club has been without a manager for sometime and it has been described as an ‘impossible job’. What attracted you to come here?

Steven Bentley: No job is impossible. I cannot promise to turn the club around overnight but this challenge excites me. I do not believe with the quality of players at Port Vale they should be where they are. The passion of the fans is undeniable and if we can get a few positive results the outlook will quickly look brighter. This can be a big club, I want to try to get us back towards where the club were in the late 1980’s under John Rudge and hopefully bring some joy to these loyal fans.

Reporter (Port Vale Star): The outlook is bleak though Mr Bentley, 8 points behind the 19th placed team, 4 wins in 25. Can you avoid 20th place?

Steven Bentley: My target is just to pick up as many points as possible and see where that takes us. I do not feel it is impossible to catch some of those lower sides but first we must put some pressure on them by closing that gap.

Reporter (Port Vale Star): Is there money available to invest in players. Has Bill Corrigan (PV chairman) got funds available to help you improve the playing squad?

Steven Bentley: Yes, there will be some funds available but I ll have to sit down with Bill and discuss that. I have already told Bill that I have no issue with letting some players go if it enables us to bring in better quality. I also will look at using the loan system.

Reporter (Port Vale Mail): Do you have any targets in mind?

Steven Bentley: I have some players I’d like to acquire but at this stage can’t comment on any specific names. I will immediately be working on that though and making use of my contacts to bring in the best players we can.

So that provides some idea of the scale of the task I faced - 13 games to try to keep Port Vale off the bottom and then re-building for a promotion push the following season.

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

Departures in past 3/4 weeks:

I wanted to axe some dead wood and so far 5 players have been sold. I ve summarised the player, club they've joined/cost + appearances goals in season 2 prior to their departure:

Louis Dodds Aldershot Town £247,200 (19 apps 5 goals)

Lee Collins Macclesfield Town £106,000 (9 apps 1 goal)

David Howland Burton Albion £212,000 (20 apps 1 goal)

Paul Edwards Accrington Stanley £53,500 (25 apps 5 goals)

Gareth Owen Oxford United £353,600 (22 apps 1 goal)

There was some suprise that attacking players such as Edwards + Dodds were sacrificed as these have contributed 10 goals this term. However Mr Bentley felt that neither had shown enough consistancy over the campaign in there performances and that they were better moved on and replaced. Supporters however questioned the wisdom in selling experienced players (those use to league 4) particularly considering many feel experience is what Port Vale appear most devoid of.

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

13 players were quickly acquired in past 3/4 weeks:

Player------------------Club--------------------------Cost

Ross Forbes Dumbarton £30,000 + Danny Glover

Jake Buxton Burton Albion Ross Davidson (player swap)

Dino Skvorc Varteks £20,000

Nemanja Tomic FK Partizan £375,000 + Dave Brammer

Lukasz Fabianski Arsenal season loan

Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez Standard Liege £275,000 + Scott Brown +

Neil Mackenzie

Sinisa Stevanovic FK Partizan £375,000 + Sam Stockley + Kyle Perry

Lacina Traore CFR Cluj £70,000 + Joe Anyon

Jo Coppens Everton £10,000

Bart Biemans Willem II £150,000 + John McCombe

Toby Alderweireld Ajax £1,010,000 + Marc Richards

Keiran Gibbs Arsenal season loan

Luiz Muriqui Rotherham United season loan

Peter Bali Free Agent £10,000

James Ashmore Ferencvaros £10,000

Yasin Pehlivan SK Rapid Wein £400,000

There has been a massive turn over of players in Steven Bentley's first 5 weeks at Port Vale. Bentley has used managerial contacts within the game to acquire 3 excellent loan signings in Gibbs, Fabianski and Muriqui who all arrive hungry for regular 1st team football.

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

* please note those arrivals/departures are over the past 3/4 weeks so certain players (who have now gone) such as louis dodds played for Port Vale in the first 1-2 games.

Supporters were still questioning both Mr Bentley's appointment as manager and his early transfer decisions on the eve of his opening game although they appeared to be vindicated (in part at least) after his opening game in charge.

We start at round 26 (25 rounds played under previous management) in season 2.

16/09/2009 (26th league fixture) Grimsby Town (a) won 3-2

Attendance – 3,173

Goals: A.Proudlock 26, N.Tomic 38, T.Taiwo 46, L.Dodds 53, S.Elliott 74

Port Vale line up (4-4-2) – L.Fabianski (9) – S.Stevanovic (4), B.Biemans (6), T.Alderweireld (6), K.Gibbs (5) – S.Richman (5), N.Tomic (5), T.Taiwo (6), M.Carcela-Gonzalez (6) – L.Traore (7), L.Dodds (9)

Booked (Port Vale): N.Tomic, S.Stevanovic, T.Taiwo

Subs: A.Griffith (6) for T.Taiwo 60

So an opening victory for the new manager and perhaps just a glimmer of hope for the fans although the situation is still critical and steven bentley knows that although some self belief has been restored there is still much work to be completed.

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

19/09/2009 (27th league fixture) Swindon Town (h) lost 3-1

Attendance – 4,589

Goals: B.Paynter 8, 16, 38, L.Muriqui 19

Port Vale line up (4-4-2) – L.Fabianski (7) – S.Stevanovic (6), B.Biemans (5), T.Alderweireld (5), K.Gibbs (6) – D.Skvorc (5), N.Tomic (7), T.Taiwo (6), M.Carcela-Gonzalez (5) – L.Traore (7), L.Muriqui (9)

Booked (Port Vale): none

Subs: J.Lawrie (5) for T.Taiwo 60

A very dissapointing home defeat for Steven Bentley despite a brilliant debut goal from on loan Brazilian L.Muriqui. Indeed but for Fabianski this could have been a far heavier defeat and Steven Bentley will reflect there is significant work on the training ground to be done as Port Vale's defending on set-pieces was alarmingly inept. Yugoslavian playmaker Tomic and Muriqui are providing increased incision however that had been lacking previously.

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

23/09/2009 (28th league fixture) Leyton Orient (a) won 2-0

Attendance – 5,014

Goals: T.Taiwo 32, B.Biemans 83

Port Vale line up (4-4-2) – L.Fabianski (8) – S.Stevanovic (5), B.Biemans (6), T.Alderweireld (6), K.Gibbs (3) – D.Skvorc (5), N.Tomic (7), T.Taiwo (6), M.Carcela-Gonzalez (7) – L.Traore (7), L.Muriqui (8)

Booked (Port Vale): none

Subs: J.Buxton (5) for D.Skvorc 75

S.Richman (6) for M.Carcela-Gonzalez 75

2 wins in 3 for Steven Bentley and a clean sheet. Once again Fabianski is excellent and he already looks an excellent loan signing. New defender Biemans seals the win although once again keiran gibbs is poor and seems to be struggling with the physical nature of league 4. Brazilian Muriqui is the pick of the attacking players and tormented the Orient defence throughout. Muriqui looks a class apart already in this league and is relishing the regular football and responsibility on him.

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

26/09/2009 (29th league fixture) Stockport County (h) won 2-0

Attendance – 4,049

Goals: N.Tomic 74, S.Richman 88

Port Vale line up (4-4-2) – L.Fabianski (8) – S.Stevanovic (7), G.Owen (4), T.Alderweireld (5), K.Gibbs (4) – D.Skvorc (5), N.Tomic (9), T.Taiwo (7), M.Carcela-Gonzalez (7) – L.Traore (7), L.Muriqui (8)

Booked (Port Vale): G.Owen, T.Alderweireld

Subs: J.Buxton (7) for D.Skvorc 75

S.Richman (8) for M.Carcela-Gonzalez 75

3 wins in 4 and another clean sheet has some fans optimistically talking of making the play-offs! This is quickly dismissed by steven Bentley who feels avoiding bottom spot is the realistic and primary objective. Yugoslavian midfielder Tomic is impressive throughout and produces a wonderful opening goal.

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

30/09/2009 (30th league fixture) Lincoln City (a) lost 1-0

Attendance – 3,545

Goals: D.Graham 77

Port Vale line up (4-4-2) – L.Fabianski (7) – S.Stevanovic (6), B.Biemans (5), T.Alderweireld (7), K.Gibbs (3) – D.Skvorc (6), N.Tomic (7), J.Ashmore (6), M.Carcela-Gonzalez (6) – L.Traore (7), L.Muriqui (8)

Booked (Port Vale): none

Subs: J.Buxton (6) for D.Skvorc 75

S.Richman (6) for M.Carcela-Gonzalez 75

03/09/2009 (31st league fixture) Yeovil Town (h) draw 1-1

Attendance – 4,466

Goals: L.Muriqui 38, D.Way 85

Port Vale line up (4-4-2) – L.Fabianski (7) – S.Stevanovic (5), B.Biemans (5), T.Alderweireld (6), K.Gibbs (3) – D.Skvorc (4), N.Tomic (7), J.Ashmore (6), M.Carcela-Gonzalez (5) – L.Traore (6), L.Muriqui (9)

Booked (Port Vale): D.Skvorc

Subs: J.Buxton (6) for D.Skvorc 75

S.Richman (6) for M.Carcela-Gonzalez 75

P.Bali (7) for L.Traore 75

Two dissappointing and sobering results for Steven Bentley and Port Vale. Despite dominating Lincoln City Port Vale contrive to lose and Darren Way's late equiliser denys a victory over Yeovil Town. L.Muriqui, Tomic and Fabianski continue to impress and have bought real quality into the side. Strangely Keiran Gibbs continues to struggle especially defensively which is alarming. The left-back may be rested in the upcoming games.

Port Vale remain bottom but are 3 points behind Bradford so optimism has been restored at Vale but the job is far from complete and with massive games such as Bradford (a) to come it will be a fascinating final 7 games down at the bottom of the football league.

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

Loving the reports..:)

Can i just ask though' date=' when you list your team, why does it say 'Bury line-up'?[/quote']

sorry my mistake, I also manage a Bury side and when I ve been doing these Port Vale reports I ve clearly got confused. :(

There all amended now - cheers for the heads up! :)

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

Port Vale's latest new signing was today unveiled at a press conference at Vale Park. Miroslav Stoch has arrived at a cost of thought to be around £300,000 from Spanish giants Real Madrid. Stoch who has previously played in England at Chelsea has found opportunities tough to come by at the Bernabeu and was encouraged to join Port Vale by the opportunity of 1st team football.

Stoch, a full Slovakia international caught Bentley's eye with impressive performances for his national side. On his arrival Stoch said 'I am pleased to be here, I need regular first team football to consolidate my international prospects but also believe I can help to this club forward and hopefully away from the foot of the table.'

Steven Bentley said of Stoch 'Miroslav is a player I ve admired for sometime and first saw him at Chelsea, he's a tricky winger and will create chances for our frontmen. Miroslav is hungry for first team action having not had much football in Spain but he'll adapt quickly and I feel we've acquired a good little player here.'

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

In the press conference to welcome new Slovakian international Miroslav Stoch, Steven Bentley praised the impact of the players he has acquired on loan and the attitude of there parent clubs in those deals.

Bentley said on his loan players - 'I ve been overjoyed with the impact of the 3 boys we've had on loan. Luiz Muriqui has scored twice and made a couple and has adapted very quickly. He's joined from a side chasing promotion and could have stayed there and had it easy but he's dropped a league to get regular football and I ve got great respect for him for that.'

'Ditto the Arsenal lads, Keiran Gibbs hasn't found it easy with the pace of lower league football but he's getting there. Fabianski has made vital saves for us in nearly every game though and I feel he can push Borac and Kuszcak on this form for that Poland no. 1 shirt. Those 2 will both go back to the Arsenal but they'll return as better players I have no doubt of that.'

When asked about the prospect of securing any of the loan players permanently Bentley was not optimistic but praised the attitude of the loan players parent clubs. Bentley stated 'I believe all three of these players can play at a higher level than league 4 thus we'll struggle to keep them. We've just been thankful that Conor McNab at Arsenal and Keiran Smith have let us borrow them. They don't have to send out players to the club bottom of league 4 by 8 points and some managers would have worried about the harm it might do to there players to be struggling at the bottom but i ve only had encouragement from those chaps. We need to look at clubs like Rotherham and look to emulate them as there a similar side to our own who are performing brilliantly week in week out'.

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

07/10/2009 (32nd league fixture) Crewe Alexandra (a) won 1-0

Attendance – 4,356

Goals: L.Muriqui 69

Port Vale line up (4-4-2) – L.Fabianski (7) – S.Stevanovic (7), B.Biemans (7), T.Alderweireld (6), K.Gibbs (4) – D.Skvorc (7), N.Tomic (9), J.Ashmore (7), M.Carcela-Gonzalez (7) – L.Traore (8), L.Muriqui (9)

Booked (Port Vale): none

Subs: J.Buxton (6) for D.Skvorc 75

S.Richman (7) for M.Carcela-Gonzalez 75

P.Bali (8) for L.Traore 75

An excellent away victory and perhaps the most significant day so far under steven bentley's tenure. Bradford are beaten 3-0 at home by cheltenham which means Bradford and Port Vale are tied on 30 points (PV bottom on GD) at the base of league 4.

Current table (bottom 6 in league 4) after 32 games:

15th Brighton Hove Albion 36

16th Lincoln City 36

17th Grimsby Town 34

18th ARC Bournemouth 33

19th Bradford City 30

20th Port Vale 30

Luiz Muriqui scores again and Nemanja Tomic again demonstrates superb vision in midfield to inspire a more comfortable win than 1-0 suggests.

full reaction to follow.

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

Port Vale stats - source: Port Vale Gazette

Following yesterdays away win at Crewe Alex it means Port Vale have won 4 out of Steven Bentley's first 7 games. That is the same number of victories as the side had taken in the opening 25 games. With games against Bradford (19th) and Brighton (15th) in the final 6 games (4 of which are at home, including the final 2) there is optimism the side can finish on a high and hopefully avoid that bottom spot. There is still work to be done though which Bentley has stressed in training this week to his players. The contributions of Luiz Muriqui (6 apps) and Nemanja Tomic (7 apps) will be particularly important as these men have 5 goals and 4 assists between them. The defence has played an important part in this upturn in fortunes too keeping 3 clean sheets (all wins) in the last 7 - compared with a shocking 1 clean sheet in the first 25. Clearly defending as a unit and improved organisation has proved beneficial.

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

Steven Bentley has publicly set on-loan Brazilian forward Luiz Muriqui the target of finishing Port Vale's top league goal scorer this season.

The on loan (from Rotherham) frontman has 3 goals in his first 6 appearances leaving him just two goals behind the Vale's leading (now departed) goalscorers. Indeed if Muriqui was to score 3 in the final 6 he would almost certainly finish leading goalscorer despite only featuring in a maximum of 12 games. Bentley stated 'Luiz has been mightily impressive in his first 6 games and I ve set him a target of scoring 3 more goals in these final 6 games which would make him our top scorer for season. Luiz isn't the most natural finisher but he's developed a good understanding with young Traore and he's definately one we'd like to loan again next term if we get the chance.'

Port Vales top scorers (as of 09/10/09):

Louis Dodds 5 goals in 19 appearances (season 1: 11 in 30 apps)

Paul Edwards (wing) 5 goals in 25 appearances (season 1: 6 in 15 apps)

Marc Richards 4 goals in 23 appearances (season 1: 9 in 36 apps)

Luiz Muriqui 3 goals in 6 appearances (not at club in season 1)

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

Port Vale unveil the signing of Maxime Lestienne from Excelsior Mouscron. The young striker will provide competition for Traore and Luiz Murqui and cost £80,000.

Lestienne impressed in Belgium and will provide a different type of thread to that posed by Steven Bentley's other options. He may start on the bench for tonights game against Gillingham as Port Vale look to get off the bottom of the division 4 tables for the first time in months.

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

Port Vale off Bottom of League 4 with 4-1 win!

An excellent day for all Vale fans. Bradford City are thrashed 4-0 at Brighton whilst Port Vale who are held at 1-1 for 70 minutes eventually defeat Gillingham 4-1 to move up to 19th place.

10/10/2009 (33th league fixture) Gillingham (h) won 4-1

Attendance – 3,341

Goals: K.Gibbs 5, M.Bentley 13, N.Tomic 71, S.Richman 81, Y.Pehlivan 89

Port Vale line up (4-4-2) – L.Fabianski (8) – S.Stevanovic (6), B.Biemans (5), T.Alderweireld (7), K.Gibbs (5) – M.Stoch (7), N.Tomic (8), Y.Pehlivan (9), M.Carcela-Gonzalez (7) – L.Traore (9), L.Muriqui (9)

Booked (Port Vale): B.Biemans

Subs: J.Buxton (8) for M.Carcela-Gonzalez 75

S.Richman (8) for M.Stoch 75

P.Bali (8) for L.Traore 75

Steven Bentley is vindicated in his suprise selections of Stoch and Pehlivan who both make debuts in this clash. The Austrian midfielder rewards Bentley with a debut goal to add some gloss to what was a far tighter game than the scoreline suggests. Muriqui again impresses the fans despite failing to get on the score sheet but it will have been the balance in midfield that will have provided Bentley with greatest encouragement. Tomic/Pehlivan complement each other well with Pehlivan covering Tomic's forward runs and the Austrian's vision will be invaluable in the Vale's battle to avoid bottom spot.

Current table (bottom 6 in league 4) after 33 games:

15th Gillingham 37

16th AFC Bournmouth 36

17th Lincoln City 36

18th Grimsby Town 34

19th Port Vale 33

20th Bradford City 30

Despite the positive result the massive games keep coming for Bentley's Port Vale:

Next up for Port Vale - Bradford City (a)

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

James Lawrie completes move to Crawley Town

Port Vale winger James Lawrie today left the club today to join non-league Crawley Town for a fee thought to be around £30,000. The wideman had featured just 4 times in nearly 2 seasons under various managers and has fallen further down the pecking order since the likes of Miroslav Stoch and Skvorc have arrived at Port Vale. Lawrie is likely to have better prospects of first team football at Crawley Town and the fee will provide Bentley with further resources to strengthen his squad.

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

Stoke City in Shock Prosser Bid

In one of the most suprising potential transfers of the season it has been reported that Division 1 side Stoke City have bid £60,000 for Port Vale centre-half Luke Prosser. Stoke City are 19th in Division, 13 points from safety with just 5 games to go and could be relegated to Division 2 on wednesday night.

Stoke already boast Ryan Shawcross, Leon Cort and Ibrahima Sonko who have all struggled in the top division in this campaign. The 61 goals they have conceeded in the division means they have the worst defence but it is still a suprise they have identified Prosser is a target as he has barely featured under various managers in the past 2 seasons. Indeed Prosser has featured just 4 times (all in the present season) - he has never featured under Steven Bentley and is firmly behind new signings Bart Biemans, Toby Alderweireld and Jake Buxton in the Vale centre-half pecking order.

When he has played, offensively Prosser has shone, scoring 3 times in his 4 games but his defending has meant he has never held a regular starting spot. Prosser scored twice in a 3-2 home win against Luton but was immediately dropped for the following game against Rochdale due to mistakes that gifted Luton a two goal lead in the opening 10 minutes. He was then re-called against Tranmere and again scored in a 2-1 defeat. Prosser's other two games were a 3-0 win at Chesterfield and a 2-1 away defeat at Yeovil. The Yeovil game could prove his last for the club and whilst his aerial ability is without question his ability on the ball and dealing with pacy frontmen will be tested more severely whether Stoke are in Division 1 or 2 next season.

Meanwhile in other news it is reported Steven Bentley will offer trialist Craig Dawson a contract. Dawson has impressed in the reserves and the centre-half, 19 who has vast non-league experience would initially provide cover and provide an immediate replacement for Prosser.

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

Vale back bottom with defeat at Bradford

Port Vale's period off the bottom of League 4 proves short lived after a dissapointing 1-0 reverse at Valley Parade. Having fallen behind to Jones's early strike Vale were unable to respond and slipped to a dissapointing defeat. Having cut Bradford's significant points lead in the past few weeks and having then overtaken them with saturdays 4-1 win against Gillingham this defeat was a hammer blow. In the post match press conference Manager Steven Bentley reflected 'this was a massive match for us and we never recovered from Bradford's early goal, we must show more character than this if we are to avoid bottom spot and ensure we are rewarded for all our hard work in closing this gap.'

14/10/2009 (34th league fixture) Bradford City (a) lost 1-0

Attendance – 8,962

Goals: S.Jones 5

Port Vale line up (4-4-2) – L.Fabianski (7) – S.Stevanovic (6), B.Biemans (5), T.Alderweireld (7), K.Gibbs (3) – M.Stoch (6), N.Tomic (6), Y.Pehlivan (6), M.Carcela-Gonzalez (6) – L.Traore (7), L.Muriqui (8)

Booked (Port Vale): P.Bali

Subs: J.Buxton (6) for M.Carcela-Gonzalez 75

S.Richman (6) for M.Stoch 75

P.Bali (6) for L.Traore 75

Current table (bottom 6 in league 4) after 34 games:

15th Gillingham 38

16th Grimsby Town 37

16th AFC Bournmouth 36

18th Lincoln City 36

19th Bradford City 33

20th Port Vale 33

In other news Luke Prosser completed his move to Stoke City for £60,000. Craig Dawson has agreed terms with Port Vale after a successful trial to replace Prosser - with just 4 games to go he joins a Port Vale side under severe pressure to improve on tonights display.

Next fixture Cheltenham Town (h)

Cheltenham are 4th in Division 4 although have lost the past 2 games.

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Re: Port Vale – From the bottom of the Football Pyramid to the Top of the World!!!

Vale up to 18th with Cheltenham win!!!

Port Vale moved off the bottom of division 4 and up to the heights of 18th with a fine 3-1 home win over promotion chasing Cheltenham. Striker Lacina Traore scored his first goal for the Vale on his 10th appearance which justified Steven Bentley's continued faith in the big Ivorian forward. Winger Carcela-Gonzalez also struck and Luiz Muriqui sealed the points on 77 minutes. Cheltenham failed to help themselves having taken the lead on 5 minutes conceeding twice in 3 minutes before having Weslowski red carded which left them with 10 men for nearly 40 minutes. Following the defeat against Bradford this was the perfect riposte from the Vale placing them 3 points ahead of Bradford again with just 9 points left to play for.

17/10/2009 (35th league fixture) Cheltenham Town (h) won 3-1

Attendance – 3,439

Goals: E.Hammond 5, L.Traore 22, M.Carcela-Gonzalez 24, L.Muriqui 77

Port Vale line up (4-4-2) – L.Fabianski (8) – S.Stevanovic (6), B.Biemans (5), T.Alderweireld (6), K.Gibbs (3) – M.Stoch (6), N.Tomic (8), Y.Pehlivan (7), M.Carcela-Gonzalez (6) – L.Traore (9), L.Muriqui (10)

Booked (Port Vale): M.Carcela-Gonzalez

Subs: J.Buxton (6) for M.Carcela-Gonzalez 75

S.Richman (6) for M.Stoch 75

P.Bali (8) for L.Traore 75

Todays win now means that in the 10 games under Steven Bentley's command Port Vale have taken more points than in the opening 25 under the various previous managers.

Port Vale after 25 games of season 2:

Played: 25

Position: 20th/20

Won/25: 4

Drawn/25: 5

Lost/25: 16

F: 27

A: 47

GD: -20

Points: 17

Port Vale - 10 games under Steven Bentley:

Played: 10

position: 18th/20 (after 35 games)

Won/10: 6

Drawn/10: 1

Lost/10: 3

F: 17

A: 10

GD: 7

Points: 19

Clearly a useful start from the new man however with 3 games remaining Bentley will want the Vale to continue the form illustrated in the majority of his opening 10 fixtures.

Current table (bottom 6 in league 4) after 35 games:

15th Gillingham 41

16th Lincoln City 39

17th Grimsby 38

18th Port Vale 36 better GD than B'mouth

19th AFC Bournemouth 36

20th Bradford City 33

Next fixture: Brighton Hove Albion (a)

Brighton sit mid-table but are unbeaten in the last 3.

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