Pope spot-kick sinks Athletic

Date published: 20 October 2018

Athletic slipped to 15th place in League Two as they slumped to a dismal 1-0 home defeat at the hands of fellow mid-table outfit Port Vale.

Frankie Bunn's men lacked enterprise as they slid to a second straight defeat.

The Valiants ended their run of three straight league losses with a battling victory.

After being hammered 6-2 at home by Lincoln last week, the visitors produced a staunch defensive effort and took all three points through Tom Pope's first-half penalty.

Both sides created early chances, with Callum Lang firing inches off target for Athletic and home goalkeeper Daniel Iversen making a brilliant point-blank save from Nathan Smith.

Vale's breakthrough came after 37 minutes when Athletic defender Peter Clarke barged Luke Hannant to the ground as the pair chased a hopeful ball over the top.

From the resulting spot-kick, Pope sent Iversen the wrong way.

Athletic fans felt they should have had a penalty for Smith's challenge on Lang, while Dan Gardner went close to equalising just after the restart.

Though the hosts dominated long spells of the second half, they lacked a cutting edge against a packed and determined Vale backline.

Clarke almost forced in from 10 yards and the recalled Jose Baxter sliced wide, but Athletic slipped to a frustrating fourth home defeat of the season.

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