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City claimed their first win of 2014 with a dramatic stoppage-time header from Carl McHugh as Valley Parade erupted.
The Irishman, recalled at left back because Matthew Bates was injured, nodded in from a Gary Jones corner to make it 14th time lucky.
Their first victory since November – and first at home since September 28 – was richly deserved, however late the goal arrived.
It seemed that they would not find their way through a stubborn and physical Port Vale despite dominating for long periods.
Adam Reach, who shone once again, hit the post and saw Chris Neal tip his curler over the bar.
Rory McArdle cleared off the line from Chris Lines early on but there was no argument about who deserved to win. At last!
That's it. City have won at last!!!
Phil Taylor, Robbie Williams, Adrian Lewis.... your boys have taken a hell of a beating. Well 1-0 will do!!
Mclean goes off as the place continues to erupt. On comes Andy Gray
Jones crosses and McHUGH nods home!!! At last, City lead..... repeat, City lead....
Vale have everyone bar Tom Pope in their own penalty area...
Five added minutes to win this....
Fans still singing, they have certainly played their part
*bangs head against wall*
Think this ref has lost his cards...
Still City pour forward. Still Vale hold out
A tired cross from Jones. The City skipper has run himself into the ground...
Ten minutes of normal time left
Corner count is 7-0..... score is 0-0
Normal service resumed but Jones fires wide again
Hugill shot on the break is saved by McLaughlin.
Darby cross is half-volleyed against the foot of the post by Reach....
Hanson whips ball to near post where Neal takes it off the toe of the diving Reach....
Vale going with two big guys up front as Williamson makes way for Hugill
Lines curls it into the away end
Vale free-kick outside the City box. But before they can take it, Thompson comes on for Bennett
Crowd is 12,106 with 220 from Port Vale
No card, nor a free-kick...... ok ref
Mclean on the floor again after being flattened by Lines
Ironic wolf whistles as Vale fans are heard for the first time all night
Ref gets some more choice words from the crowd as he books McHugh for a foul on Yates
Reach hasn't wasted much tonight but he delivers a poor cross as City threaten on the counter
Could have been more.... Loft shot batted away by McLaughlin
Vale taking their time over a free-kick. Quite happy to hang on for their point
Jones free-kick handled behind by Daniel Jones. Corner given which McArdle heads wide
Another foul from Griffith....
Reach robs Lines to charge into box once again but the ball runs away from him as he looks to cross
Reach cuts in and drives across goal... "Cmon City" roar the crowd
Davies heads just over from free-kick
Nope, ref Brown thinks otherwise. Very, err, lenient....
Griffith late on Bennett. Gotta go here....
Mclean done more in five minutes of second half than whole of the first. City on top again and have another corner
Crowd use the break to belt out a rendition of Parkinson's Bradford Army. The fans have been right behind him as Julian Rhodes had asked before the game
McHugh down after clash of heads with Davies, who is also getting treatment
Mclean immediately causes havoc in Vale box, tries an overhead kick and Loft almost clears into his own net as he hacks away
Mclean taps to Hanson and off we go again
City back out on the pitch ready to carry on where they left of
Bright stuff from the Bantams but they still haven't scored in the first half since the Bristol City game - also the last time they got the first goal.
Kyle Reid back on the Valley Parade turf to do the half-time prize draw
Half-time, 0-0 but City playing well and crowd appreciate it
Decent cross from McHugh but nobody on the end of it
Reach wrong-foots Yates but cross with outside of his boot is cut out by Grimmer
Two minutes of extras
Griffith on a last warning with the ref by looks of it
Jones free-kick is headed behind by McHugh...
Mclean getting some treatment from Vale. Davis knocks him over a minute after Griffith catches him late...
Subtle #bcafc #bcafc modification of an old favourite. Reach, Reach will tear you apart again!— @Ianhirst666 18 February 2014
Reach again dribbling his way into the Vale box but his right-foot drive is blocked
Jones swaps passes with Davies and has a crack from 20 yards. Doesn't miss by much..
Second booking for Vale as Loft blocks off Reach. Cynical foul
I'm not one to talk but Rob Page, the Vale number two, has got an incredibly shiny head...
City respond with a Reach shot deflected behind for their third corner.
McLaughlin needed to be alert to push away Loft shot after mistake by McHugh let the midfielder into box.
Mclean catches Dickinson with a high boot. Referee happy to give him a telling off not a booking
McHugh stands his ground well to earn foul from Loft and gets loud applause for it
Griffith, the Port Vale enforcer, goes in with a nasty lunge on Mclean in the centre circle. Lots of arms up and home anger but ref shows yellow card
McArdle races back 50 yards with Williamson to block him... Centre half started this one well
Neal punches free-kick away and Vale are at the races....
Reach flattened by Loft just outside the corner point of the Vale box. Good spell of City pressure
City so close... McHugh flicks corner across goal where Hanson is denied at far post. Ball comes out to Reach, whose first shot is blocked and second is tipped over the bar by Neal
Reach looking very positive again with driving run and cross to the far post. Knocked behind for City corner
Hanson jumps to meet Bennett cross but it's a bit high and he cannot guide it on target
Lines free-kick cannons into the girth of Doyle in the City wall before Jones blocks the follow-up
Ref allows Vale to play on for a fair time before pulling it back for a Davies foul five yards outside the box...
McLaughlin owes McArdle a pint after the game for that.
Scare for City as McLaughlin's scuffed clearance goes straight to Lines. He has an empty goal to aim at from 35 yards but McArdle gets back to head off the line
Reach lofts a lovely ball from the left-back position and Hanson hits it first time across the Vale goal...
Header from Pope plops gently into McLaughlin's arms.
Bad tackle from Dickinson on Bennett. Left back lucky to escape a card
That's got the Kop going with a rendition of Midland Road
Good start from City. Hanson almost on the end of Darby ball lobbed into box then Bennett and Reach efforts blocked.
Vale to kick off towards the Kop. Here we go....
Deep breaths, chests out.... here come the two teams
Right, let's do this. 3pts is all I ask. #bcafc— @Paulwilki 18 February 2014
Nervous tension in the air. Not as cold as recently but likely to be an iron underpants night!!
Please don't let me sit in the cold all evening for nothing! #bcafc— @sarahwassell 18 February 2014
Tom Pope, who scores against City for fun, is in the Port Vale team after recovering from a stiff neck.
Ben Williamson comes in for Jordan Hugill to partner him up front - the only change from a team that has kept back-to-back clean sheets.
Vale, as if we need reminding, are unbeaten in their last five visits to Valley Parade.
PORT VALE: Neal, Yates, Grimmer, Davis, Dickinson, Loft, Lines, Griffith, Jones, Williamson, Pope. Subs: Dodds, Myrie-Williams, Tomlin, Birchall, Knott, Hugill, Johnson.
@ParkerTandA no defenders on the bench— @ProSutcliffe 18 February 2014
Three players back in all with something to prove.... Bennett needs to show that spark we saw before his red card against Preston; McHugh has to put the horrors of his last outing at left back behind him; Doyle has to rediscover his form from start of season.
Phil Parkinson makes three changes from the side that started last week's poor 1-0 defeat at Carlisle.
Kyle Bennett replaces Garry Thompson on the right wing and Nathan Doyle takes over from Matty Dolan in central midfield.
The third change is injury-enforced. Matthew Bates is suffering with a hip problem so Carl McHugh gets another chance at left back - the position where he struggled against Sheffield United in his last appearance there.
Mark Yeates is back among the substitutes after his absence with knee trouble.
CITY: McLaughlin, Darby, McArdle, Davies, McHugh, Bennett, Jones, Doyle, Reach, Mclean, Hanson. Subs: Dolan, Gray, Thompson, McBurnie, Yeates, Atkinson, Jameson.
Good evening and welcome to Valley Parade for City's game against Port Vale.
It's a match that has taken on crucial proportions as Phil Parkinson's side look to halt a run of 13 games without a win - and take three points at home for the first time since the end of September.
Team news will be with you shortly.