Port Vale 1 Brentford 1

So here we go again, another season. New shirt, new signings and above all new hope.

Just shy of 800 fans made the trip to The Potteries hoping that Uwe’s pre-season military training regime and friendlies against higher division teams had stood his troops in good stead and hit the ground running.

With Simon Moore having moved on to pastures new, former Spurs and Charlton custodian Button took over in the sticks,

Tony Craig had a niggle which meant Kevin O’Connor partnered Harlee at the beginning of the latest season in his distinguished career in Red and White.

Will Grigg partnered Clayton in attack to form a strike force which scored in excess of 40 goals between them in the previous season.

In glorious sunshine Brentford took the game to the hosts from the off, overlapping runs from both Jake Bidwell and Shay Logan creating half chances for Grigg and The Don, the hosts back four just about getting last ditch blocks in on each occasion. League 2 cant have been up to much if Vale were promoted from it in 12/13!

It looked like the frustration of being denied would get to The Bees both on and off the pitch and indeed Vale started gaining a bit of ground, which momentarily resurrected a thus far silent home support.

Until in the 25th minute Shay took matters into his own hands. Picking up the ball just inside the half, before exchanging passes, dropping a shoulder our right back who had displayed several delightful flicks in the preceding minutes, went one better and sent an unstoppable drive into the top corner of the net.

Scenes in the away end belied the opening day of the season with cries of ‘we are going up’ filling the air.

Joy was to be short lived however as 4 minutes later the game was level once again. Harlee Dean, usually a rock and dependable had a rush of blood which let a Vale winger nip in behind him, roll a short pass into the area, before pin ball in the goal mouth lead to the home teams captain slotting home from close range.

Half time came and the scores were level.

After the interval Clayton came within a hair and crossbar of deservedly restoring the lead.

After a mix up in defence a deft lob left the keeper grasping at thin air only for the big number 9 to be denied by the woodwork, cannoning back before being cleared.

Sadly as seems to happen all too often, the second 45 were ruined by inept officiating.

Czech winger Martin Fillo’s introduction was the high point of the remainder of the match.

Fillo’s showed a hunger and drive, in addition to flashes of brilliance coupled with deft touches he looks like a real find by our visionary genius of a German gaffer who will only . improve as he gets game time with his new team in competitive games,

Over all there are a lot of positives to be taken forward and with time the new players will bed in.

Will Grigg only needs a goal to get his Walsall confidence back. Whilst it is a game of opinion, it was worrying to hear fans voicing dissatisfaction. One game in isn’t a time to be complaining, 12/13 started with a 0-0 draw and look what happened.

A journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step

Chis Horricks

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