12 February 2022

Darrell Clarke sorry for Port Vale fans after ‘awful’ game against Northampton

12 February 2022

Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke issued an apology to his side’s paying fans after their goalless draw at home to Northampton.

A dire afternoon at Vale Park saw little goalmouth action and precious few chances, with the Valiants’ boss admitting it had been an “awful” showing, though they did extend their unbeaten run to five games.

“I thought we were poor throughout the majority of the game to be honest,” he said.

“There’s no papering over that, we were unrecognisable from the last four or five games when we’ve been right at it and it’s up to me to work out why that was.

“I have to apologise to our supporters, because I just think there wasn’t any quality whatsoever. It was an awful performance from us.

“We didn’t string two or three passes together and it was like chalk and cheese from the other night at Carlisle. There was no flow by us. I know conditions were a little bit difficult but that’s no excuse.

“We got slightly better in the second half and one or two decisions might have been more favourable but we were nowhere near the standards we set ourselves today and we have to take that and move on from it.

“If anything I felt more positive after our Salford defeat – people will ask what I’m talking about but I just like to see my team play a lot better.

“I just thought we played nowhere near that standard today, we just got nothing going at all. We’re disappointed, and the lads are too, they know the standards we set, and that was nowhere near it.”

Cobblers boss Jon Brady agreed that there was little for anyone to shout about during the game. He added that his side could have showed greater patience in attack, though they did keep their 15th clean sheet in 30 League Two outings this term.

“I thought we could have done a lot better in moments,” said Brady after the draw that kept his side in the promotion places. “I thought we started the game quite well, we dominated possession and controlled it.

“Then we forced it a couple of times when we could have been more patient and worked better openings and it was a bit of an attritional day, the wind was blustery, the pitch was heavy, for both teams, admittedly.

“But overall it’s a good point. We watched the Forest Green game when they came here and they were lucky to come away with a point from here. So, I thought we had a lot of moments where we controlled the game, especially in the first half, and made two clear-cut chances.

“A lot of the time offensively I just think we could have chosen better options instead of forcing it. We could have retained it and found a better way to penetrate. But overall to come here and get a point is a positive. I still think we can be better though.

“We stood up as a group against a big, strong, physical side. We were very good in those moments, I thought the boys defended exceptionally well.”

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