Rotherham UNITED missed a chance to steal a march on one of their main promotion rivals as their recent bout of travel sickness continued at Vale Park.
James O’Shea’s 20-yard volley eight minutes after half-time separated the teams and left the Millers with three straight defeats and no goals from their last three away trips. The result avenged Vale’s 5-0 trouncing at Don Valley Stadium on New Year’s Day and got their promotion assault back on track after seven defeats in their previous eight games.
Adam Le Fondre ought to have scored when his close-range left- footer was parried by goalkeeper Chris Martin after good work down the left by Ryan Taylor and Nicky Law. The Millers’ leading scorer also had an effort tipped around a post but Vale arguably came closest before half time.
Justin Richards was foiled in a one-on-one with Rotherham stopper Andy Warrington and O’Shea clobbered the inside of the post with a 25-yard free kick.
The Millers paid for a slow start to the second half when they were stung by O’Shea’s strike and Richards should have doubled the advantage.
Rotherham struggled to create clear chances in their search for an equaliser. New signing Ian Thomas-Moore, son of manager Ronnie Moore, had a shot on the turn saved while Taylor shaved the crossbar from long-range, but Vale held out to cut the gap between the teams to just a point.
Port Vale: Martin; Yates, R Taylor, Griffiths, McCombe; Owen, Loft, O’Shea (Roberts 85); Richards (Brown 82), Collins; Geoghagon (Sutton 74). Unused Substitutes: Johnson, K Taylor, Haldean.
Rotherham United: Warrington; Tonge, Newey, Fenton, Mullins; Marshall (Bradley 70), Harrison, Law, Thomas-Moore; Le Fondre, R Taylor. Unused Substitutes: Green, Ashworth, Ellison, Warne, Randall, Annerson.
Referee: K G Evans (Manchester)