Vale players deserve massive credit for showing their pride and passion

I have to admit I breathed a massive sigh of relief when Rico headed the winner five minutes from time on Tuesday night.

I was starting to mither that we might get dragged into a relegation scrap thanks to the 10-point deduction.

But the win over Hereford was effectively worth six points because of their league placing and, while I won’t rest until we have 52 points on the board, I think can all breathe a lot easier.

On another night the outcome may have been decided far earlier than the 85th minute because we created several decent opportunities and probably should have been out of sight by half time.

As it was, I thought a fairly makeshift Vale team – due to injuries, suspensions and the sale of Lee Collins – battled their hearts out for the cause and I have nothing but praise for them.

To go through what this bunch of players has in recent months and to still be bringing home the bacon is testament to the professionalism and passion of them and the coaching staff.

These lads have gone from genuine promotion hopefuls to fearing a relegation scrap – through no fault of their own.

They have suffered the loss of key team mates, suffered the distracting indignity of being touted around and gone without pay for weeks – like other club employees.

I can’t fault them. I certainly won’t be criticising them for a misplaced pass, a sliced clearance or a scuffed shot.

In my book they’re doing their damnedest under very difficult circumstances and I was personally delighted for one player the other night who rather proved the boo boys wrong.

Stuart Tomlinson has had a rough trot of late and in all honesty has probably cost us a few points.

However, on Tuesday night I thought he had an excellent game. His handling and coming for the ball was first rate – he got good distance on a punched clearance and made a spectacular save in the second half when the scores were level.

Hats off also to young Joe Davis on an impressive first senior start. It really is great to see young lads coming through – no matter what the circumstances.

It is a real pleasure to attend Vale Park these days, now that the big black cloud of the previous board has lifted, and the generosity of people putting into collection buckets for the hardship fund is genuinely humbling.

No-one must adopt the attitude that we have nowt to play for because we do. The lads showed it on Tuesday night.

It’s called pride – and there’s plenty of that round Boslem these days.

Read my Port Vale articles every Friday during the season in The Sentinel


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