After the highs of Tuesday evening you probably could have predicted this would have the morning after feeling. Just the one change saw Connell drop to the bench and Marvin come in to create a solid 4-4-2 with Robinson & Molesley to provide some so called width on the flanks. So with a bumper crowd nearing 6,000, the highest of the season, we looked forward to a flowing game and another win.
Brett almost produced the goods at the outset with our first attack when Fletch played Brett into a good position for his shot to be deflected around the post by the Vale keeper, Anyon. The resultant corner saw an in-swinger that was almost an identical repeat of his earlier Shrewsbury goal only to be punched clear by Anyon as it seemed to be dipping and curling to the top corner.
In a half where both sides probed without real penetration of the opposing goal, the remaining highlights were few and far between. With effectively 4 midfielders on the pitch, the Cherries drifted towards a very narrow game. On the half hour Brett broke on the right flank and forced Anyon to parry his cross only for Anton Robinson just to lose out to central defender Griffith for the rebound. Molesley then had a strike saved to further frustrate an ever threatening attack. Vale fashioned an attempt near to half time when a left wing cross flashed across the face of the Cherries goal to find no-one chasing up. Then probably our best chance came right on the stroke of half time when Danny Hollands shot was just inches wide of the upright.
The second half commenced and almost immediately the Cherries took the game to Vale to try and force an opener. Molesley again forced a shot early on in the second half only to be denied by Anyon who had to scamper across the goal line to clear his effort. Then a switch, Feeney came on for Robinson seemingly to provide some width that the game cried out for but subsequent was due to injury. Around the hour mark the game came to life a little. Molesley drilled yet another shot from the middle of the park forcing Parry into an acrobatic save. Port Vale then created a few nervous seconds with a shot that fell just wide. Connell then came on for Marvin with Brett reverting to the left wing. A suspicious handball by Feeney set Brett free on the left flank only for another fine save from Anyon. As the game fizzled out to a draw and a cold sea fret drifted across Dean Court, each side traded blows at the death to get the 3 points but to no avail.
All in all not an inspiring game. It had all the dour hallmarks of two bottom half sides battling themselves to a standstill. There was too much long ball by Cherries with not enough width to truly threaten. The defence though were strong again with only one or two dicey moments in Shawn's kicking and Warren not clearing the ball quickly when the ideal opportunity presented itself. Vale didn't really come to win and seemed content with the draw.
AFCB: Jalal, Garry, Cooper, Pearce, Cummings, Bartley, Hollands, Robinson, Molesley, Fletcher, Pitman
Subs: Pryce, Bradbury, Feeney (on for Robinson, 52 mins), Connell (on for Bartley, 69 mins), Partington (for Molesley, 90 mins)
Nick Wallinger, Uxbridge