Loft lifts Vale to victory
Last Updated: 01/04/14 10:35pm
Doug Loft: Match-winning strike
Skipper Doug Loft fired Port Vale to a 2-1 home victory over Crawley in a game which saw both sides reduced to 10 men.
Crawley were out of the traps quickly and had enough chances to put the game to bed inside the opening 20 minutes.
The best of them fell to Billy Clarke in the 17th minute when his 12-yard shot was cleared off the line by Richard Duffy.
Clarke finally rewarded the visitors' dominance 10 minutes from the interval when he made no mistake from the penalty spot.
Vale defender Joe Davis felled Rory Fallon and Clarke fired his spot-kick inside Sam Johnson's left-hand post as the Vale keeper dived in the wrong direction.
Jennison Myrie-Williams and Billy Knott also squandered good opportunities for Vale in a first half which should have produced more goals.
Crawley started the second-half confidently, but Vale equalised with a terrific goal by Knott in the 50th minute.
The visitors failed to clear after Tom Pope headed down Duffy's cross and Knott cracked a 20-yard left-foot shot which flicked the underside of the bar as it sped into the top right-hand corner of Paul Jones' net.
Crawley should have regained the lead when Clarke was denied by Johnson in the 66th minute, but they were reduced to 10 men a minute later when Dannie Bulman was sent off for a second yellow card.
The visitors looked set to hold on until Loft struck a powerful and low left-foot shot from 20 yards which slipped through Jones' grasp and rolled over the line.
Vale were also reduced to 10 men in the last minute when defender Chris Robertson was sent off for violent conduct following an altercation with Mark Connolly.
Sky Bet League 1
|5||Preston North End||43||79|
|10||Milton Keynes Dons||43||58|