Port Vale 0 Harrogate Town 0: Simon Weaver satisfied as unbeaten start to the season is extended

Brendan Kiernan in action for Harrogate Town during Saturday's League Two clash with Port Vale. Pictures: Matt KirkhamBrendan Kiernan in action for Harrogate Town during Saturday's League Two clash with Port Vale. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Brendan Kiernan in action for Harrogate Town during Saturday's League Two clash with Port Vale. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town remain unbeaten since their promotion to League Two following Saturday's stalemate at Port Vale.

The Wetherby Road outfit's third outing in the EFL saw them shade the first hour in Stoke-on-Trent, before coming under some pressure from their hosts during the latter stages.

Neither goalkeeper was overworked, however Valiants stopper Scott Brown was required to make one excellent first-half save to prevent Aaron Martin from breaking the deadlock.

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Joe Cracknell was barely troubled at the other end, though Simon Weaver will have been disappointed by the lack of chances his team managed to fashion after the interval.

Josh Falkingham competes for the ball in midfeld.Josh Falkingham competes for the ball in midfeld.
Josh Falkingham competes for the ball in midfeld.

That said, a point and a clean-sheet on the road against one of the sides fancied to challenge for automatic promotion this term is nothing to be sniffed at.

"We weren't at our fluid best by any stretch and it was a bit of a drab affair, but there are more positives than negatives to take from today," Weaver reflected.

"Port Vale are tough opposition and we've gritted our teeth and come through with a valuable point.

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"We can't undervalue a point here, nor the defensive performance of the team. We can do more on the ball, but to do that takes a lot of energy and we probably need a bit of rest now.

"When we came through the Notts County [FA Trophy semi-final] game in midweek there was lot of excitement, a lot of adrenaline on another night where we didn't get back until one in the morning - and that takes its toll.

"We looked a bit clunky and predictable going forwards in the second half and we're better than that, we need to zip the ball about better. But it's credit to the players that we're still unbeaten in three games since promotion to League Two."

The opening half-an-hour of Saturday's contest passed by without any incident of real note, Town seeing more of the ball while Vale looked like they could pose their visitors a few problems on the counter-attack.

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Harrogate eventually managed to work a sight of goal on 36 minutes, courtesy of their first really incisive moment of attacking play.

Ryan Fallowfield raced down the right to meet Josh Falkingham's clipped pass over the top, delivering a first-time cross from close to the byline that Martin glanced goalwards at the near post, drawing an excellent reaction save out of Brown.

Mark Beck then sent a close-range header from George Thomson's corner wide of the far post, before it took an excellent bit of one-on-one defending by the covering Falkingham to deny Valiants striker Mark Cullen a clear run on Cracknell's goal at the other end.

The second period followed a similar pattern, Town initially shading possession again, while utilising the height of Beck to better effect in the final third.

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It was Vale, however, who came closest to breaking the deadlock when Nathan Smith's pull-back from the right found David Worrall, who slid an effort narrowly wide, the ball kissing the outside of the upright on its way behind.

And the Valiants would finish the game on the front foot, putting Harrogate under some real pressure without ever managing to seriously extend Cracknell, thanks largely to some fine defending from visiting centre-halves Connor Hall and Will Smith - who produced two key blocks.

Weaver's men did rally in the closing moments, launching a couple of promising raids and almost snatching the points through a Martin header from another inviting Thomson corner, though had the ball ended up in the back of the net, it would have been harsh on the hosts.

Port Vale: Brown; Mills (Brisley 46), Legge, Smith, Fitzpatrick; Oyeleke, Joyce (Robinson 84), Conlon; Worrall, Cullen (McKirdy 65), Rodney. Unused substitutes: Crookes, Whitehead, Burgess, Visser.

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Harrogate: Cracknell; Fallowfield, Smith, Hall, Burrell; Thomson, Falkingham, Kerry (Kirby 76), Kiernan (Walker 80); Martin, Beck (Stead 65). Unused substitutes: Jones, Lokko, Minter.

Referee: B Toner.

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