Fleetwood Town 1-0 Port ValeStephen Dobbie’s penalty ten minutes from time was enough to secure Town the three points against ten man Port Vale in front of a jubilant Highbury crowd.
The visitors, who were reduced to ten men moments before the half-time whistle blew, held on until the Cod Army’s second half pressure finally told as Fleetwood maintained their unbeaten start to life at home in League One.
Dobbie calmly slotted the penalty into the bottom right corner to score another crucial goal for the Club following his dramatic late equaliser against Bristol City two weeks ago.
Ahead of kick-off Graham Alexander made two changes to the side that started against Peterborough. Danny Andrew was brought in for his full debut in place of the suspended Stephen Crainey while Club captain Mark Roberts replaced the injured Nathan Pond.
Town started the quicker with Dobbie testing Chris Neal in the visitors’ goal with a long range effort. Neal pushed his effort high into the sky before setting himself to take it at the second time of asking.
Gareth Evans was next to try his luck in the 18th minute driving at the Port Vale defence but could only drag his shot from 18 yards out wide of the target.
As the first half went on, Vale grew into the game with both Mark Marshall and Tom Pope having chances. Marshall cut in from the left forcing Chris Maxwell into a save low to his right before Pope headed over from 12 yards after Evans had been caught in possession.
On the stroke of the interval, Vale’s on-loan forward Jordan Slew petulantly kicked out at debutant Andrew giving referee Kevin Johnson no choice but to send the on loan Blackburn Rovers man off.
The Cod Army again asserted themselves after the restart with Josh Morris and Antoni Sarcevic going close.
Morris tried his luck from a full 20 yards out forcing Neal into a smart save low to his left before teeing up Sarcevic from a corner. However, the ex-Chester man could only head over from six yards due to some extensive pressure.
With just over 20 minutes left to play Alexander decided to shuffle to pack bringing on David Ball as well as handing teenager Nick Haughton his debut as the replaced Jamie Proctor and Sarcevic respectively.
Pope, on a rare Vale breakaway in the second half then missed his second headed chance of the afternoon as his effort from a Michael O’Connor cross hit the upright.
Town responded with a chance of their own almost immediately. Haughton linked up well with Dobbie who let fly from the edge of the area but saw his shot deflected behind for a corner.
Neal, in the visitors’ net then pulled off four saves in the space of a minute to deny the Cod Army. Ball was first to be stopped as Neal beat away his powerful drive from a tight angle before pulling off a miraculous double-save to stop Dobbie and then preventing Morris.
Finally, in the 80th minute, Town were able to make their man advantage count.
Ball was released into the Vale box by Evans and as Ryan McGivern came across to stop him fell to the ground. After a moment of hesitation, the penalty was given and duly despatched by Dobbie.
Alexander made his final change of the game shortly afterwards as goalscorer Dobbie was replaced by recent loan signing from Wolves Liam McAlinden.
The result sees Town rise two places to 10th in the League One table ahead of the journey to Colchester United next Saturday.