MGBSFL DIVISION ONE
SPEC FC 1 HERTSWOOD VALE 6
Vale went ahead from a corner after 11 minutes - a Josh Gorb flag-kick was met by late run into the box from Zach Mandel, who saw his goalbound header get a vital flick off Millet and into the net.
In what was a really dominant display from Vale, with strong passing stats all round, SPEC defended well for large parts, with player-manager Ricky Lawrence in good form as makeshift goalkeeper.
However, Lawrence could not prevent Vale from doubling the lead midway through the first half, when an excellent cross from Jordan Harris was superbly headed home by Harry Graham - his fifth goal in two games against SPEC.
Looking comfortable at half-time, Vale helped SPEC back into the game with an own goal just three minutes after the restart. This was followed by a spell of pressure, but Vale defended well and started to turn up the heat, and they began turning possession into clear cut-chances.
A lofted through ball from Trup found Millet on the left wing. He took the ball down, advanced down the line before cutting inside in the box, leaving two defenders in his wake and unleashing a shot into the top corner and beyond the keeper. 3-1 and the match was very much back in Vale's control once again.
The visitors made it 4-1 in the 72nd minute through a maiden goal from Adam Morrow in his 20th appearance for the Vale. The utility man was playing in an unconventional position on the wing following a tactical shuffle, but he took it in his stride with a great finish for his goal. An outstanding bit of individual skill from Josh Gorb on the right wing absolutely sold SPEC left-back before he laid the ball perfectly into Morrow who smashed home from the edge of the box and into the far corner despite losing his shin pad in the build-up. As he lapped up the adulation, Vale fans could tell what the goal meant to him.
There was still time for Millet to complete his hat-trick, and secure the match ball (Ed. these are really costing Vale now!), from the spot after being taken down following a fine bit of tekkers. He rifled home for our fifth just two minutes later.
With joint-player-manager Jacob Emanuel making a rare appearance for the last ten minutes, Vale were creating chances fast and furious, but were thwarted time and time again by an inspired Lawerence in goal. His most notable save came from point-blank range from Jack Shulman - after saving from Justin Mullem, the ball found its way to Shulman who powered a goal-bound header that was destined for the net, only to see Lawerence fly to his right to keep the effort out.
Despite Lawerence 's best efforts, Vale added a sixth goal from Morrow who finished at the third time of asking.
A delighted Emanuel told JC Sport: "It was a really pleasing and professional team performance from the boys that ultimately saw us grab six goals for a second game in a row, and an important three points that adds to our impressive points tally in the league.
"Following a strong start from SPEC when we played them a fortnight ago in the cup, we knew that we had to start strong this time around in the league, and that's exactly what the boys did."
He went on to say: "Big shout out to SPEC's Ricky Lawerence for going in goal when his team needed him despite struggling to walk towards the end. He still managed to pull a couple of top-drawer saves to keep the score down.
"Job done. The planning has now started for our huge semi-final clash against HMH next week, knowing that we'll have to be perfect for that one. For now, we're very happy to have got two emphatic wins in the last fortnight."
SPEC: Ricky Lawrence, Daniel Cohen, Jeff Gotch, Adam Joselyn, David Kendall, Matt Leader, Rafe Neiman, Daniel Pike, Jonathan Pressman, Nick Wallis, Sam Roth, Josh Green. Sub: Dan Linton
SCORER: Own goal
VALE: Adam Zaidman, Ashley Hirschberger, Josh Gorb, Jordan Grant, Jordan Harris, Ashley Hirschburger, Zac Mandel, Adam Morrow, Alex Trup, Jack Winton, James Millet, Harry Graham. Subs: Ollie Brill, Jacob Emanuel, Justin Mullem, Jack Shulman
SCORERS: Millet 3 (11, 64, 74),, Morrow 2 (72, 90), Graham (20)