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Darrell Clarke hails Port Vale’s team spirit in comeback victory over Barrow

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 2021-10-16
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Darrell Clarke hailed Port Vale’s “outstanding” team spirit after his tactical changes inspired a League Two comeback victory.

The Valiants scored three second-half goals to defeat in-form Barrow.

Clarke made two changes at the break after Ollie Banks put the Bluebirds in front with a powerful free-kick.

Dennis Politic and Mel Benning both came on and scored – either side of James Jones’ own goal – to complete the turnaround and seal a fourth-straight home victory in all competitions.

Clarke said: “The spirit is outstanding in that changing room. It is one of the strongest I’ve seen as a manager.”

But he rued his side’s poor start: “We gave a sloppy goal away that went straight through the keeper’s hands, which isn’t good enough.

“I thought we had a lot of control in the first half without getting the joy.

“It was slow moving of the ball and they were getting out too easily.

“We had a lot of the ball and didn’t do a lot with it.

“The changes in the second-half helped us get more control of the game and the formation tweak.

“We didn’t set the world alight and then gave a rubbish goal away and everybody gets edgy and says ‘its the typical Port Vale way’.

“It was up to us to try and lift it and the lads did that with the second-half performance.

“(The half-time team talk) was really relaxed and technical. We made changes and sometimes you get it right as a manager and sometimes you get it wrong.”

Vale completed the turnaround 11 minutes into the second half after Banks’ ferocious effort before the break.

Politic rounded the goalkeeper to equalise and Jones bundled in an own goal before Benning netted a late third.

“We were comfortable at half-time,” Barrow boss Mark Cooper said. “The fact that they made two changes tells you the story of the game.

“But we didn’t start after the second half and we were very passive.

“We gave balls away on the edge of our box and invited pressure.

“We didn’t get in the opposition’s half as we wanted to and we gave them all the incentive they needed, so I’m disappointed.

“The first 10 minutes of the first half was sloppy then we had a spell where we played well and got the goal.

“I just said to them ‘maybe I’ve got to start throwing cups and booting things to get a reaction at half-time’.

“It shouldn’t need that, they should know what’s coming.

“The defending was horrendous. Our one-on-one defending in wide areas was really poor.

“When you put all that together, it’s not a good recipe to win a game of football after going ahead.

“I think that’s 13 points we’ve lost from winning positions now….the most in the league.”

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