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Sat, Sep

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On Tuesday night, Port Vale hosted second in the table Tranmere Rovers in a Coca Cola League One fixture and with the help of a brace of goals from Chris Birchall, and one from Billy Paynter, Vale shocked high flying Rovers 3-1. After the game Brian Beard caught up with Chris Birchall, who picked up more than the two goals.


Q THAT WAS SOME NIGHT FOR BOTH YOU AND PORT VALE?
A It was a great night. I got my first goal against Swindon and hoped for another against Tranmere, but I managed to go one better and get two.

Q HOW CAN YOU OUTPLAY AND BEAT A TEAM THAT'S SECOND IN THE TABLE, LIKE THAT?
A Well, to be fair, we seem to play better against the top teams because they are more likely to play football against us. We went away to Blackpool on Saturday and we didn't play too bad but were beaten 1-0. This time, we were in good spirits and came out with everyone working together and we achieved a deserved reward for our efforts.

Q THERE WAS A CERTAIN SIMILARITY BETWEEN YOUR TWO GOALS?
A Yes, Jeff Smith set me up for both of them, something he has reminded me of in the dressing room before I came out. I was delighted that the chances came for me and I was able to tuck them away.

Q PORT VALE'S HOME RECORD THIS SEASON IS QUITE GOOD BUT YOU NEED TO SORT OUT THE AWAY RECORD?
A That's right, but we haven't been playing that bad away from home, it's just that we have tended to concede goals at crucial times in games - just after half time or right at the start of matches. We just need to tighten up in that area and hope that the home form continues to be good.

Q IT'S A GOOD SIGN THAT, IN ADDITION TO SCORING GOALS, YOU WERE ABLE TO RESIST TRANMERE PRESSURE TOO?
A Yes, we knew that we needed to have a good start to the second half and come out and keep things tight for the first 20 minutes or so and not concede. We did that and to be fair we settled things a bit and when we got the third goal we knew we could withstand what they would throw at us in the last 20 minutes and that's exactly what we did. We kept a tight reign on the game and held on for the win.

Q NOT A BAD NIGHT ALL ROUND THEN BECAUSE YOU ALSO PICKED UP 'MAN OF THE MATCH'?
A That was nice and I'm glad I got two goals, but more importantly I'm happy that we got three points from the game.

Q YOU'VE BEATEN THE SECOND TEAM IN THE TABLE AND YOU FACE THE LEADERS LUTON ON SATURDAY. ANOTHER BIG TEST?
A It would be nice to get a similar result there. We know how tough it's going to be but we'll keep our fingers crossed for a good result there. It was going to be a hard game anyway but with them losing in the week it may be a little tougher.