Darren Moore frustrated as late goals spell defeat for Port Vale

By Sports Desk February 20, 2024

New Port Vale manager Darren Moore was “bitterly disappointed” with the closing stages of the 2-0 League One defeat at Reading as late goals led to Moore’s second successive defeat since taking charge.

Vale offered little throughout a scrappy affair and Reading’s constant second-half pressure paid off through Lewis Wing, in the 76th minute, and Harvey Knibbs seven minutes later.

Vale, now eight games without a win, lie two points from safety but have games in hand over most of the teams above them.

Moore, who succeeded the sacked Andy Crosby last week, said: “I was bitterly disappointed with those last 16 or 17 minutes.

“It was a lapse in concentration that’s once again undone us this evening and we have to be better than that.

“It’s those small percentages that can decide a game and you have to be better at them, in order to drag the game by the scruff of the neck and get that positive result that we need.

“I’m disappointed because we didn’t deserve that tonight but, at the same time, we’ve only got ourselves to blame.

“There was a lot of positives, though. We had just one day to work on our shape, we had two classroom sessions, and the boys applied themselves absolutely spot on.

“Reading didn’t really cause us too much trouble in their rotations and play. We kind of saw a lot of those things off.

“In terms of us with the ball, I was pleased with the back to the middle to the attack.

“If there is one small criticism, it is probably getting those bodies in (to the penalty area) and finishing off what we had maintained throughout the game.

“We needed to commit those bodies forward to get that final contact on the ball. And it will come.”

Reading are now six points clear of the relegation zone.

“It was a good way to respond after Saturday (when they lost 4-1 at leaders Portsmouth),” said manager Ruben Selles.

“We spoke after the game and for me, that game did not reflect the way that we played and the way that we performed. Tonight reflects more the way that we play.

“It took us 15 to 20 minutes to adjust things because it was just Darren’s second game and he changed the formation that Vale usually play.

“We were prepared for a different scenario so early on it was more competitive than we first expected.

“But we adjusted after that and, after half-time, we fully adjusted in the second half. We then dominated the game.

“We stayed patient, we built up the game. When the game is open, we can be very dynamic.”

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