Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke pleased with second half performance despite FA Cup exit
BURSLEM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08: Darrell Clarke, manager of Port Vale speaks with Tom Conlon of Port Vale following the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Port Vale and Brentford at Vale Park on January 08, 2022 in Burslem, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke believes that his side did themselves justice with an impressive second half display despite crashing out of the FA Cup as they suffered a 4-1 home defeat to Premier League outfit Brentford.

A hat-trick by substitute Bryan Mbuemo and a first-half strike by Marcus Forss sealed a comfortable win on the road for the Bees, even though there was a scare of a comeback when young loanee Kian Harratt netted on his debut to peg the score back to 2-1.

However, Thomas Frank's side's cutting edge on the counter attack and clinical finishing ensured that there was no risk of an upset being on the cards.

  • Clarke happy with second half performance

Despite Vale's exit from the competition, Clarke was pleased with his outfit's second half showing especially considering that it was their first game in nearly a month after having four consecutive games postponed due to outbreaks of covid-19.

"In the first half we spent a lot of time without the ball, we kept giving the ball away.

"Second half, I thought we had a right good go and certainly when we pegged it back to 2-1 we had them on the ropes for a little spell, but they showed their clinical finishes at the end. 

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"I think that will have done us the world of good in getting one or two players back from injury. Blowing the cobwebs off, one or two lads back from covid.

The 44-year old continued: " We could not have picked a harder game to come back to.

  • Clarke on Harratt's impressive senior debut

"I am pleased that the lads did themselves justice and our crowd was fantastic, they got right behind the boys right to the end. So we will take the positives out of it.

Despite the defeat, it was a day to remember for Harratt who at 19 years of age made his senior debut after joining the Valiants on loan from Huddersfield Town until the end of the season on Friday.

After coming off from the bench early on in the second half in the place of James Wilson, it couldn't have got much better for him as his powerful header past Jonas Lossl with 20 minutes to go secured his first goal in senior football.

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When speaking on the recent addition to the squad, Clarke said that he is really pleased to get Harratt on board considering that he was not originally on the market.

"He has got a bit about him, that is why he has come in the football club. We are really pleased because he was not on the market.

"This is testament to my recruitment team of David Flitcroft and Tommy Johnson who put an unbelievable presentation on to Huddersfield to be able to get the lad.

"We are thankful for Huddersfield who have allowed him. We are going to look after him, we are going to learn him and I know he is going to give me everything.

"Dean Whitehead has worked with the lad before and it is a great start for him."