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28 April 2018 Venue Vale Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU: Port Vale

We take a closer look at this weekend's opponents

27 April 2018

In their final away game of the 2017/18 season, the Blues travel to Port Vale looking to end the campaign on a high.

Under club legend Neil Aspin, Vale have pulled away from the relegation zone in recent weeks and find themselves clear of danger. 

Carlisle, meanwhile, will be keen to pick up another three points despite the play-off dream being over.

We put Aspin’s men under the spotlight ahead of our visit to Vale Park: 

Mathematically Safe 

A slow start to the season saw Vale win just one of their opening 13 games, which seriously raised the prospect of back-to-back relegations for the Burslem based side. 

That saw Michael Brown lose his job, with former Vale player Aspin then stepping into the hotseat. 

And the former Gateshead boss has managed to steady the ship and take his side clear of the foot of the table. 

Vale now sit 18th and seven points clear of the bottom two with two games left to play – and they will enter the meeting with United in fine form having lost just one of their last six outings. 

Struggles In Front Of Goal 

One of Port Vale’s key problems this season has been finding the back of the net, and that lack of a cutting edge is a big factor in why they sit in League Two’s bottom half. 

Despite having the experienced duo of Tom Pope and Tyrone Barnett up top, the Valiants’ tally of 48 goals is the fifth lowest in the division, with only the bottom four sides having scored less. 

That’s a statistic that Aspin will be desparate to change next season as Vale seek to climb up the table. 

What Does History Tell Us? 

The two sides have met fairly regularly throughout history and it’s the Valiants who have the marginally better record. 

Of the 33 times the pair have faced off, Vale have claimed victory on 13 occasions with United triumphant in 10 games - 10 meetings have ended as draws. 

The two sides met last season, when United ran out 2-1 winners in the League Cup courtesy of goals from Charlie Wyke and Shaun Miller. 

But our meeting earlier this campaign ended in a 2-1 win for the Valiants as Barnett and Pope found the net. Richie Bennett did pull one back for the Blues, but it turned out to be merely a consolation.

Over Ten Years Ago ...

You have to go back to 2007 – over a decade ago – to find the last time United won at Vale Park. 

Danny Graham opened the scoring for the Blues before the visitors were reduced to ten men as Luke Joyce was given his marching orders late on. 

But Joe Garner netted to wrap up a 2-0 win, which is United’s only victory in Burslem in the last twenty years. 

Ones to Watch 

+ Antony Kay - An experienced centre back, Kay began his career at Barnsley where he helped guide the Tykes to the Championship in 2006. A move to Tranmere Rovers followed just a year later before he later spent time with Huddersfield, MK Dons and Bury. The 34-year-old made the move to Vale Park in the summer and proved a valuable acquisition, becoming a first team regular while helping to stabilise the Valiants’ backline. 

+ Marcus Harness - Another summer signing, Harness joined Vale from Championship outfit Burton Albion with whom he had spent all of his career - the winger’s only previous spells away from the Pirelli Stadium coming in the form of loan switches to Ilkeston and Aldershot. A pacy attacking player, Harness has impressed since his arrival at Vale Park and will cause defences plenty of problems as the season continues. 

+ Tom Pope - Now in his second spell at Vale, Pope is something of a cult hero having developed a reputation as a prolific goalscorer for the club he supported as a child. He left Vale Park and spent time at Rotherham and Bury before returning to Vale where he has continued to impress. The frontman has netted 19 times already this season and is another who will pose a real threat for Carlisle this weekend.

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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Port Vale 1 - 2 United

Report from the final away game of the season

28 April 2018

Carlisle United signed off their 2017/18 away days campaign with a well deserved victory at Vale Park following an excellent second half turnaround courtesy of two very good goals.

An early Vale corner was met by Bonham on the punch and he recovered quickly to pluck the ball out of the air as it came back at him via Tom Pope's head.

Carlisle responded with some excellent football which saw Joyce, Campbell-Ryce and Liddle combine to make room for a cross from Jones. An excellent delivery fizzed across the face of goal but there was nobody there in a visiting shirt to tuck it away.

The visitors stayed on the front foot and Devitt ghosted through midfield to find a dangerous position. It opened up in front of him but his shot from distance rattled into the side netting.

Campbell-Ryce was next to test the back line when he twisted and turned his way past his marker. Another excellent low cross bounced across the six-yard box and Liddle was disappointed that he couldn't make more of it.

United continued to look the more likely, without quite managing to find the quality needed in the final third, and they had to take care when Whitfield clipped a pass at the near post at the other end. Bonham raced off his line to make sure Pope was denied a chance.

A long pass from deep followed for the hosts and it had Pope interested as it skipped up off the surface. He got there with the header but Bonham dived low to make the save.

It was a good spell for the Valiants and Angus did well when he cut inside and ran past Liddle. He had options but his high cross bent well wide.

Defender Danny Grainger had half a sight of the target when he got on the end of a one-touch passing move involving Liddle, Campbell-Ryce and Nadesan. He came under pressure as he shaped to make the connection and it was an easy save for Hornby to make.

Despite all of the good visiting work, Carlisle were undone just after the half hour when Whitfield streaked away with possession from just inside his own half. His run took him to the edge of the United box, where he found Turner in close support. A dinked pass invited the shot and Bonham could do nothing as Angus headed the ball home from one-yard out after the stopper had made an initial very good save.

The lead was almost doubled immediately when Turner pulled wide to find space. His pass was perfect for Pope but Bonham readjusted to make an excellent save just as the ball threatened to cross his line.

Parkes had a late first half chance to make a mark when he arrived unattended at the back stick, but his volley from a pass from Devitt took a deflection and that, in turn, took the sting out of the effort.

An early second half Grainger free kick caused all kinds of problems as Carlisle kept it alive and it eventually bounced high for Bennett to volley. He got on the end of it but a touch from a defender took it behind. The corner found Ellis on the run beyond the back post but Hornby did well to keep hold of the header as it flew at him through bodies.

Carlisle came again when Liddle overlapped through a gaping hole on the right flank with time on his side. His cross took a deflection, but that set things up for a wonderful goal from Ashley Nadesan as he flashed an unstoppable volley into the roof of the net right in front of the ecstatic travelling supporters.

Port Vale were suddenly struggling to deal with the United movement and their goal lived a charmed life when Jones burst through from deep. It was a tight angle, and his shot shaved the outside of the far post as it went under Hornby's body.

The game opened up and the hosts had a penalty decision turned down when Angus went down following a tussle with Ellis. Whitfield then blazed over from 16 yards after he rode two challenges to get into the area.

Pope tried his luck as he latched on to a kick out from Bonham, but his attempt to catch the keeper off his line went astray as the ball bent away from the target. Carlisle regrouped quickly and they took the lead for the first time on the day when Devitt bent a run to leave defenders in his wake. The cross was impossible for the back line to deal with and Hope celebrated his return from injury with a firm close-range finish.

United still had work to do, and they were relieved to see a strike from Turner rise over the bar as the home side tried to stage a grandstand finish.

Vale had Antony Kay sent off late in the day for an off-the-ball incident, and that allowed Carlisle to see the game out to its successful conclusion and to give their departing manager the final away-day victory he craved.

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Goals

Port Vale - Angus (32)

Carlisle United - Nadesan (50), Hope (71)

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Bookings

Port Vale - sent off - Kay (85)

Carlisle United - Parkes (90)

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Teams

Port Vale - Hornby, Kay, Pugh, Pope, Turner (Barnett 76), Gibbons, Angus (Calveley 63), Smith, Whitfield, Howkins (Howe 42), Hannant. Subs - Davis, Boot, Tonge, Benns.

Carlisle United - Bonham, Grainger (Hope 65), Joyce, Liddle, Parkes, Jones, Devitt, Campbell-Ryce (Bennett 46), Ellis, Hill, Nadesan (O'Sullivan 77). Subs - Miller, Brown, Stockton, Twardek.

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Referee - Ben Toner

Attendance - 5,163 (540 away fans)

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