Rochdale 0-14 Vale

Sam Hoare on his way to score for the Vale.
Sam Hoare on his way to score for the Vale.

Vale of Lune celebrated the resumption of fixtures with their first win on Rochdale soil since January 2003, extending their unbeaten run to four games.

The Vale made the prefect start, playing towards the imposing clubhouse, when centre Ben Dorrington angled a kick towards the right flank, where the lurking Al Crookall gathered the ball cleanly before touching down for an unconverted try in the fourth minute.

Positive, sensible rugby from the visitors limited Rochdale, who found it difficult to break out of their own half.

A well-balanced run from Fergus Owens had the Rochdale defenders scurrying, but overall the Vale played a tight game, with their forwards doing the lion’s share of the heaving and carrying, with man of the match, scrum half, Charlie Lomas barking out the orders and snapping at their heels throughout.

Rochdale created the minimum of chances because the Vale were mean and too well-organised, and although play at times was scrappy and untidy, the Vale fully deserved their half time lead.

Lomas kicked a 40th minute penalty goal after Jonty Higgin had instigated a sweeping attack.

Following an early second half penalty miss from Lomas, Rochdale came more and more into the game via their forwards, who started to play with more cohesion.

Suddenly, for the first time the Vale look rattled and started to lose their shape as Rochdale eased themselves back into contention.

Wayward kicks, poor decision making and a visibly reduction in work rate handed the initiative over to Rochdale, who were unable to capitalise on the situation.

Eventually the Vale lifted themselves out of the slough of their own making, and with forwards Dan Baines, Andy Powers, Olly Cowey and Sam Wallbank, who was making his 150th appearance, well to the fore, the tide began to turn in the Vale’s favour.

In the 71st minute, a solid Vale scrum forced a penalty which Dorrington efficiently kicked. A real strength of purpose was flowing through the Vale side, and victory was secured in the 80th minute when Dorrington thumped over a forty eight metre penalty goal.

With no North One West fixtures being played on Saturday, the Vale can prepare for their next game at home against Widnes on December 5, fully aware that although Widnes have only won one game so far, they were victorious on their last visit to Powderhouse Lane.

*Vale seconds won their second game in quick succession with a 55-17 home win against Birkenhead Park 2 in the Premier League.

Confidence is high at the moment after their first victory of the season, 19-5 against Stockport 2, was nailed down at the beginning of November.

Vale fourth’s winning streak of three games continued at Blackburn with a 34-24 win against the hosts third team.