JOHN RUDGE'S 15-year reign at Port Vale may well have been temporarily saved yesterday, as goals from Martin Foyle and Peter Beadle saw off Barnsley.
There were strong rumours last week that this would be Rudge's 826th and last game in charge at the club he has served since the early 1980s, and the writing appeared to be on the wall during a first-half dominated by the hosts.
But the complexion of the game quickly changed after the restart, when the Barnsley defender, Matty Appleby, played a suicidal headed back-pass to Lars Leese. The lurking Foyle nipped in to steer a right-foot flick past Leese and in off the left-hand post.
Vale's celebrations doubled in the 56th minute when Beadle played a one- two with Foyle on the edge of the Barnsley area before cracking a rasping drive just inside Leese's right-hand post.
"The players have done fantastic for me over the 19 years," Rudge said afterwards. "You don't get into a situation where you come from the bottom of the old Fourth Division into the First if those players haven't worked exceptionally hard and responded to you.
"We're proud of what we have achieved, particularly over the last 10 years. The crowd have also been absolutely superb. Many times it's the fans that get you the sack, but our crowd at Port Vale is the reason why I have stayed.
"I have had quite a few opportunities to move on which would have been financially better for me - but Port Vale has meant a lot to me and we will have to wait and see."
That final comment could, however, indicate that Rudge believes his time at the club is finally drawing to a close.
Goals: Foyle (47) 1-0; Beadle (56) 2-0.
Barnsley: Leese; Eaden, De Zeeuw, Jones, Morgan, Appleby (McClare 60), Marcelle (Liddell, 74), Sheridan, Ward, Hendrie (Fjortoft, 64), Van Der Laan.
Port Vale: Musselwhite; Snijders, Tankard, Barker, Barnett, Beesley, Ainsworth, Talbot (Bogie, 82), Beadle, Foyle, Koordes. Substitutes not used: McGill, Carragher.
Referee: P Taylor (Hertfordshire).
Bookings: Barnsley: Jones, Morgan, Liddell. Port Vale: Barker, Barnett, Talbot.
Man of the Match: Foyle.Reuse content