A very youthful Youth Team were defeat by Port Vale in their opening group stage game of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup.
Due to goalkeeper Brad Wade's involvement with the first team, an opportunity was presented to 13-year-old Brad Kelly to start the match, and with Keith Kearney and Isaac Ward having joined Chorley FC to gain valuable experience in the Conference North, several players from the club's under 16s were named in the squad.
The hosts took the lead inside the first minute, when a long ball forward was knocked down to a Vale forward, who curled home from just outside the area.
Kelly made a number of good stops throughout the game.
However, there was nothing he could do to prevent any of the goals, including Vale’s second which came in the 19th minute. A perfectly weighted through ball was converted past Kelly from just inside the area to double the hosts’ lead.
They made it three shortly before the half hour mark with a back post header from a corner kick.
Dale finished the half strongly and saw Neil Kuemo hit the top of the crossbar with a teasing cross, before he had an effort cleared off the line moments later from Fabio Tavares’ pull back.
Tavares had the ball in the back of the net early in the second half after a fine finish, but he was deemed offside from Florent Hoti’s pass forward.
Vale completed their scoring ten minutes in the second half after pouncing on a loose ball on the box, finish clinically.
Elliott Murray and Tavares drew good stops from the Vale goalkeeper. Murray’s curling effort from the edge of the area was held, before Tavares was denied by a flying save from just inside the area.
Lewis Bradley and Luke Matherson replaced Hoti and Juwon Hamzat either side of the half hour mark, shortly before Kuemo’s cross was turned over by Tavares at the far post.
Kelly made a fine save from a one-on-one after Vale had broken behind the Dale defence, and the home side were inches away from making it five when a corner was acrobatically turned against the post before being cleared off the line by Harrison Hopper.
The final effort of the game fell to Tavares, who rose high to meet Kuemo’s left wing cross, but headed over the crossbar from eight yards out.
Dale also take on Scunthorpe United, Doncaster Rovers and Bury in Group 6 of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup, with their next game in the compeition against The Iron on Saturday 7th October.