Notts County 4 – 2 Port Vale
Notts County: Spencer 27, 34 Campbell-Ryce 48, 85
Port Vale: Thompson 13 (OG) Tomlin 25
An extraordinary four-goal comeback at home to Port Vale earned Notts County 3 precious points to lift Sean Derry’s side out of the relegation zone, albeit on goal difference.
The visitors had taken an early lead through an own goal from Curtis Thompson, and Vale striker Gavin Tomlin later added a second.
But James Spencer and Jamal Campbell-Ryce both scored twice to give the Magpies a vital win that will give their supporters real belief they’ll still be watching League One football next season.
Meadow Lane was deafening when the tie was sealed by Campbell-Ryce with 5 minutes remaining, who along with Jack Grealish produced a performance that may not be forgotten should County survive their run-in.
Things started ominously for County when Thompson directed a glancing header into his own net from a Vale free kick. 10 Just 12 minutes later Gavin Tomlin finished a slick move that looked to have been cleared off the line but was flagged by the linesman and given by referee Darren Drysdale.
The first half barely gave anyone a chance to catch their breath as both sides had numerous chances. Drysdale had his hands full from the start, booking Port Vale’s Richard Duffy on 15 minutes for a challenge which provoked a small melee.
County’s recovery from the second goal was was immediate. Campbell-Ryce, whose pace and trickery were a constant menace for Port Vale and was at the heart of everything the home side produced, started the comeback by crossing onto the head of James Spencer who finished from close range.
The two players combined again for County’s second. After a receiving a pass from Campbell-Ryce on the penalty spot, Spencer calmly curled the ball past 21-year-old Port Vale goalkeeper Sam Johnson.
For County, 18-year-old Aston Villa loanee Jack Grealish, who had been near-anonymous in opening 45 minutes, produced a moment of magic at the start of the second half, turning the defender inside out on the left wing before crossing for Spencer to score his second and give County a deserved lead.
With ten minutes remaining County, desperate to hold on, began to sit deep after the third goal and looked vulnerable. With 10 minutes remaining, a curling effort went beyond Magpies goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowsi, off the post, off the back of Bialkowski and was cleared at the death by a defender.
It was a heart stopping moment which began ten barely endurable minutes of tension. But the game was ended by deserved man of the match Campbell-Ryce, who finished a neat counterattacking move after Port Vale had over-committed going forward.
Bialkowski was called upon to make an extraordinary save 3 minutes from the end two keep County’s lead at two goals. But by that point the triumphant Kop stand was already singing.