Port Vale v Oxford United
Saturday 22nd October 2016
At Vale Park
Vale came from behind to earn a point for the second time in five days after trailing Oxford United by two goals at half time, when goals from Chey Dunkley and Daniel Crowley had put the visitors in the driving seat.
Vale came out fighting after the interval and pulled a goal back in the 54th minute when Ryan Taylor’s free kick was nodded back across the box by Nathan Smith and Rigino Cicilia applied the finish.
Five minutes later Vale were level after Cicilia was bundled over inside the box. It was Taylor who placed the ball on the spot, keeping his cool to plant the spot kick beyond the reach of U’s ‘keeper Simon Eastwood.
The big talking point before kick-off was the injury picked up in training on Friday afternoon by top goals corer Alex Jones, thus keeping him out of the starting line-up.
Sam Hart dropped back in to the left back position meaning Kjell Knops was left out andnJerome Thomas started on the left flank.
Sam Foley returned to action in the middle of the park to link with Regino Cicilia, who started up front, whilst new signing Ryan Taylor started out on the right.
The two sides looked fairly evenly matched in the opening minutes of the game, each of them looking to get the ball forward early, but at the same time neither defence looked likely to be breached.
GOAL:That all changed in the 11th minute, however, when the visitors were awarded a free kick out on the Vale right. Chris McGuire sent the ball into the box and Chey Dunkley headed home from 6 yards.
GOAL:Things got worse for the Vale in the 19th minute when the defence was cut open by some nice passing football from the visitors, finished by Daniel Crowley from 15 yards.
Vale made a change in the 28th minute when Calvin MacIntosch went off and was replaced by Chris Mbamba.
The visitors were presented with an opportunity to increase their lead when Maguire went down under a challenge from Sam Hart, just outside the ‘D’.
Maguire took the resulting free kick himself, but Alnwick responded well, diving to his right to make the save, going full length to push the ball away.
Vale were forced into making a second change after Sam Foley limed off and on came Quentin Pereira from the bench as his replacement in the on 42 minutes.
Liam Sercombe wasted a gilt-edged chance to hit a third for the visitors when the ball was played to him at the back post, but with just Alnwick to beat, he failed to hit the target.
Vale had no option other than go out all attack in the second half and they did just that. There was always the chance they would get caught out at the back, but two goals down already, there was no other choice.
GOAL:in the 54th minute Vale gave themselves some hope when Taylor’s free kick from the right swung in towards the back post was headed back inside by Nathan Smith and RIGINO CICILIA stuck the ball past Simon Eastwood from 8 yards.
And five minutes later Vale were level. Taylor’s free kick from the left was headed back inside by Remie Streete and as he went for the ball, Cicilia was put on his backside and the referee pointed to the spot.
GOAL: RYAN TAYLORplaced the ball on the spot and smashed home the penalty kick to level the scores and Vale were back in the game.
Play switched from one end to the other as both sides went in search of what they hoped would be the winning goal, with Vale having slightly the better of things.
Vale made their third and final change in the 81st minute when Ryan Taylor was taken off and Anthony de Freitas came off the bench as his replacement.
PORT VALE:Jak Alnwick, Remie Streete, Calvin Mac-Intosch, Paulo Tavares, Rigino Cicilia, Sam Foley, Jerome Thomas, Nathan Smith, Ryan Taylor, Anthony Grant, Sam Hart. SUBS: Kjell Knops, Chris Mbamba, Dan Turner, Kiko, Quentin Pereira, Miguel Santos, Anthony de Freitas
OXFORD UNITED: Simon Eastwood, Joe Skarz, John Lundstram, Curtis Nelson, Daniel Crowley, Liam Sercombe, Chris Maguire, Phil Edwards, Joe Rothwell, Marvin Johnson, Chey Dunkley. SUBS: Alex Macdonald, Ben Buchel, Josh Ruffels, Kane Hemmings, Ryan Taylor, Tyler Roberts, Charlie Raglan