Port Vale 1 Brighton 3 match report: Understrength Seagulls do enough to see off spirited Vale in boggy conditions
A pre-match thunderstorm ruined any hope of a flowing game between a valiant Port Vale and an much changed Brighton side
Saturday 25 January 2014
Brighton battled through the mud to see off a spirited effort from hosts Port Vale and seal their place in round five of the FA Cup with a 3-1 victory.
Promotion-chasing Brighton, with Tuesday's trip to Burnley in mind, made seven changes to the team beaten at Derby last weekend.
And the surface water caused by a pre-match thunderstorm will also have been to Vale's liking with the sodden pitch another leveller.
Much of the early play was understandably bogged down in midfield and a couple of long range efforts by Brighton's Jon Obika and Rohan Ince proved harmless.
Andrea Orlandi went closer when his shot on the turn veered just wide of Chris Neal's right-hand post with the visitors gradually turning the screw.
Neal then had to get down smartly to keep out Solomon March's powerful shot before Brighton broke the deadlock in the 27th minute.
Orlandi delivered an outswinging corner from the left and Ince cushioned a classy left-foot finish high inside Neal's left-hand post from 12 yards.
The goal roused Vale into action and Tom Pope almost got on the end of Jennison Myrie-Williams' cross before big centre-back Chris Robertson headed a 36th minute equaliser.
Chris Lines delivered a quality corner from the right and Robertson timed his run to perfection to bury a 12-yard header low inside Peter Brezovan's right-hand post.
Vale grew in confidence as an entertaining cup tie came to the boil, but were rocked back on their heels when Brighton regained the lead in fortuitous fashion two minutes before the interval.
Orlandi rolled a short right-wing corner towards March and the midfielder's intended right-foot cross looped over everyone and the ball dropped inside the stranded Neal's right-hand post.
Vale boss Micky Adams, who had two spells in charge at Brighton, replaced left-back Rob Taylor with Adam Yates at half-time.
But the visitors went for the jugular as Neal saved well from March before Orlandi had a goalbound shot charged down.
Jake Caskey's fierce drive then forced an even better stop from Neal with Vale working hard just to stay in the tie.
Kemy Agustien was next to go close for Brighton when his 64th minute shot crashed against the overworked Vale goalkeeper's right-hand post.
Adams brought on strikers Ben Williamson and Jordan Hugill to chase the game, but the visitors countered with a deserved third goal 12 minutes from time.
Ince's first time ball sent Jon Obika sprinting clear of the Vale defence and the on-loan striker from Tottenham rounded Neal and rolled a left foot shot into an empty net from 12 yards.
Battling Vale refused to lie down as Hugill and former Brighton midfielder Doug Loft were denied close to goal, but Brighton stayed strong to see out the tie.
Latest in Sport
Liverpool transfer news and rumours: Xabi Alonso to be quizzed before £18m Asier Illarramendi bid; Battle on for Rickie Lambert
Transfer news and rumours LIVE: Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea, Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester City, United want Gareth Bale
Arsenal 5 Aston Villa 0 player ratings: Mesut Ozil or Santi Cazorla? Who stole the show at the Emirates Stadium?
Chelsea vs Manchester City player ratings: David Silva saves the day but which City star stole the show at Stamford Bridge?
Kim Sears 'swearing' outburst threatens to overshadow Andy Murray's Australian Open semi-final win
- 1 Three-year-old boy shoots pregnant mother and father in New Mexico
- 2 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
President Putin is a dangerous psychopath - reason is not going to work with him
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign