Ahead of Port Vale’s arrival at St James’ Park last Saturday the two clubs, both having had a successful start to their season, appeared on paper to be evenly matched. Both with good away records and both with leading goal scorers and with goals a plenty to their credit it was all set up to be an early season ‘must win’ game. Expectations were high following City’s Tuesday night away win at Barnet.

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But it was Port Vale who bagged the points with their fifth consecutive away win and also the fifth win back to back, and for the Grecians the game ended with a 2-0 defeat leaving manager Paul Tisdale with a trend of three defeats from four games. City have now lost three league games at home out of five played and this was the fifth in eight home games if you include the cup defeats to Crystal Palace and Aldershot.

As is the way, views of Saturday’s game amongst fans is divided, and Paul Tisdale’s post match comments possibly indicate the reality of where we are: “I think they are the most effective team we’ve played so far and it just shows we’re just short at the moment. It’s a quarter of the season gone now, which is a very good opportunity to assess our performance, and we’ve not been effective enough at home. You look at the games and you assess them. We’ll work out our way to improve and that’s what we’ll do.”

This was the same City team that won at Barnet, and City stuck to the game plan of passing the ball and getting the ball to Cureton. Goal keeper Rhys Evans was given his first home start and was not at fault for either of the goals. The players didn’t give up the cause and early on there was plenty of attacking play from City which the visitors were able to absorb, whilst City were managing the same at the other end of the pitch.

Cureton had a chance but lost control at the key moment. Possession was in Vale’s favour and although there was little between the sides that changed in the 40th minute when a cross from the right wing allowed Tom Pope a gold plated opportunity to score. In the second half City created chances, Steve Tully headed against the bar and Jamie Cureton snapped at an opportunity sending the ball wide of the post. Vale doubled their lead after 62 minutes and it was that man Pope yet again.

But City are not fourth in the table for nothing and there are still high hopes for this season.

This Saturday it’s an away trip to Northampton who have a reasonable home record and are 15th in the table just 6 points behind the Grecians. On October 27th City are away at Cheltenham and the East Devon Grecians are running a coach from Sidmouth- leaving at 10 am. You can book your seat for the coach through Di Lee. Contact via e mail or phone dilee42@btinternet.com 07890470678.

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