REPORT | Port Vale 2-0 Southend United
Southend United are still looking for their first point of the season after going down 2-0 against Port Vale.
The Blues lacked a cutting edge in front of goal and were made to pay by the Valiants who scored in both halves after a handful of chances were spurned by the visitors.
Anton Forrester got the first moments before half time and Remie Streete sealed the win with 15 minutes to go leaving the Blues bottom of Sky Bet League One.
Manager Phil Brown made three changes to the side that dropped out of the EFL Cup in midweek to Gillingham. Adam Barrett, Jermaine McGlashan and Will Atkinson all came in to replace John White, Luke O’Neill and Adam King.
The first chance went the way of the Southend and Stephen McLaughlin after just two minutes, but his shot from an acute angle was straight at Vale ‘keeper Jak Alnwick.
It was a stop-start game in the opening ten minuets with breaks in play due to injuries, one of which forced the home side into making an early substitution - Rigino Cecilia limping off and Anton Forrester taking his place.
But Southend continued with their much brighter start than the hosts when McGlashan’s deflected effort from the edge of the penalty area was well held by Alnwick.
David Mooney sent a half volley just wide, although the assistant referee had flagged him offside anyway, but the visitors came again, this time through Simon Cox who had a shot deflected for a corner. Adam Barrett rose highest but headed over the bar.
Port Vale worked a good opening for JJ Hooper which the forward sent high over the bar, but again Southend promised to break the deadlock as Atkinson’s left footed 20 yard shot was tipped round the post.
McGlashan was proving to be a constant threat down the right wing for Southend but Vale went close just before the half hour mark when Nathan Smith headed Sam Foley’s free kick.
Southend came straight back though, and went very close after a goalmouth scramble and the best spell of pressure from either side the first half had seen.
Mooney digged out the first shot from six yards, it ricocheted to Cox whose header was palmed out, but only back into danger and McGlashan ended up fizzing a cross in which was finally cleared.
And then five minuets before half time, against the run of play, Port Vale took the lead when a right wing cross from Foley was glanced into the top left-hand corner by Forrester. It was a cruel blow to Southend who were undone having been on top.
They responded with McLaughlin heading over but Port Vale, buoyed by taking the lead, attacked through Hooper whose shot was blocked and taken by Oxley to end the half.
Half Time: Port Vale 1-0 Southend United
Southend began the second on top and minutes in many, including the traveling contingent behind the goal, thought they had equalised when Demetriou crossed, Mooney headed goalwards and somehow the ball stopped on the line before being cleared by Smith.
After a quiet period in the game, Mooney then headed a chance wide at the back post after McGlashan had picked him out.
Port Vale’s first chance of the second half went to the goalscorer of their first goal Forrester, who turned inside the area, but hit his shot into the grateful hands of Oxley after a deflection.
Just after the hour mark Brown turned to his bench to change things in the form of Adam King and Jack Bridge, who came on McGlashan and Atkinson.
Forrester’s good work on the left set up a speculative chance for Calvin Mac-Intosch from all of 25 yards but the defender couldn’t keep his shot down.
The Blues broke quickly from a Port Vale corner with Demetriou leading the charge, but his chipped cross was just out of Mooney’s reach as they searched for an equaliser.
It was Vale’s turn to spring an attack from good Southend pressure and Forrester won a corner from which the hosts doubled the lead. Foley swung it in, Forrester headed it down into the path of Remie Streete, who smashed the ball into the far corner from 12 yards.
With 15 minutes to salvage something, Jason Williams entered for Cox and a delicate chest pass from the young forward almost made it’s way through to Mooney, but Alnwick anticipated it and Vale held on to take the three points.
Full Time Port Vale 2-0 Southend United
Southend XI | Oxley, Coker, Barrett, Mooney, Cox, McLaughlin, Atkinson, Sokolik, McGlashan, Leonard, Demetriou.
Subs | White, Thompson, O’Neill, King, Bridge, Williams, Smith.
Port Vale XI | Alnwick, Streete, Knops, Mac-Intosch, Tavares, Cicilia, Hooper, Foley, Thomas, Smith, Grant.
Subs | Forrester, Mbamba, Pereira, Boot, Jones, De Freitas, Gibbons.
Attendance | 4,727 (245)