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Saddlers hit by late swoop from Eagles; WALSALL 0 PORT VALE1.

Byline: CHARLIE BENNETT mail.sport@birminghammail.co.uk

WALSALL lost by a single goal to a team in the relegation zone for the second time in four days as Port Vale kept their League One survival hopes alive with a late winner.

The Saddlers had the better chances throughout with Kieron Morris hitting the bar and Vale keeper Leonardo Fasan making two fine saves.

But Chris Eagles crashed a rocket past Craig MacGillivray into the top corner from 20 yards five minutes from time to give Vale a lifeline in their relegation battle.

Injury and suspension played a part in Walsall boss Jon Whitney making three changes for the clash and naming a bench comprised of players aged 21 or younger - with Erhun Oztumer injured and Celtic loanee Eoghan O'Connell suspended.

Vale started the brighter as former Premier League ace Eagles fizzed a 25-yard effort straight at MacGillivray.

Walsall came within inches of going ahead on 24 minutes as Maz Kouhyar fed Morris on the edge of the box and his curler came back off the crossbar.

Fasan made a fine fingertip save to keep the game goalless three minutes later, thwarting James O'Connor's header from six yards after Joe Edwards nodded a deep corner back across goal.

Walsall had a golden chance to go ahead on 58 minutes as Edwards' ball over the top put Amadou Bakayoko in the clear but his attempted chip was tipped wide by Fasan.

Vale wasted a good opening four minutes later as Eagles' cross was met at the far post by a towering header from Valiants skipper Sam Foley that flashed inches wide.

Billy Reeves twice went close as the game entered its final ten minutes, drilling one chance wide and seeing a close-range effort superbly blocked by a brave Roberts.

But Vale won it in the 85th minute through Eagles' stunning strike.

WALSALL: MacGillivray, Preston, O'Connor, Roberts, McCarthy, Dobson, Chambers, Edwards, Morris, Kouhyar (Hayles-Docherty 68), Bakayoko (Candlin 83). Subs not used: Ganley, Vann, Kinsella, Sangha, Makris.

PORT VALE: Fasan, Taylor, Streete, Smith, Tanser, Pugh, Eagles (Bikey 87), Reeves, Foley, Thomas (Kelly 70), Turner (Hooper 63). Subs not used: Mehmet, Kiko, Shalaj, de Freitas.

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Apr 26, 2017
Words:361
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