PORT VALE:Chris Neal, Rob Taylor, John McCombe, Louis Dodds, Jennison Myriw-Williams, Ashley Vincent, Tom Pope, Clayton McDonald, Sam Morsy, Ryan Burge, Richard Duffy. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Adam Yates, Chris Shuker, Joe Davis, Ben Williamson, Ryan Lloyd, Kingsley James
OXFORDUNITED:Ryan Clarke, Jake Wright, Adam Chapman, Simon Heslop, James Constable, Sean Rigg, Jake Forster Caskey, Harry Worley, Luke O’Brien, John Mullins, Tom Craddock. SUBS: Alfie Potter, Andy Whing, Tony Capaldi, Lee Cox, Tyrone Marsh, David Lynn, Max Crocombe
Attendance:4,596 including 127 visiting supporters
Vale made one change from the eleven that started their last league match, againstExeterCity, with Ryan Burge coming in as a replacement for skipper Doug Loft who missed out with a calf injury.
The visitors almost got off to a dream start and it was former Vale man Sean Rigg who almost did the damage with a 30 yard effort that Chris Neal did well to touch over his crossbar.
Tom Pope went close to grabbing his 13th goal of the season at the other end in the 9th minute when he picked up a pass from Rob Taylor, turned and shot.
The ball took a slight deflection off a defender and looked like Ryan Clarke in theOxfordgoal had been beaten, but the ball skimmed the top of the crossbar and Vale had o settle for a corner kick.
Vale were certainly enjoying the better of the early exchanges, but needed to stay on their toes as the visitors looked like they could cause some damage at any time.
James Constable almost did just that when he was allowed to make his way into the Vale 18 yard box but thankfully his shot was inches wide of the target.
Both sides continued to probe for an opening, but none of them could find the spark to make something happen in the final third of the field.
As the first half went on it was the visitors , if anyone, who were looking the more likely to find an opening.
But it was Vale who got the breakthrough in the 30th minute. Ashley Vincent switched the ball inside from the left for Louis Dodds – his shot was saved by Clarke, but TOM POPE was there to sweep home his 13th goal of the season.
Vale struck the upright with a deflected cross-come-shot from Ashley Vincent in the 37th minute with theOxforddefence all over the place.
The visitors almost forced their way back into the game in the 42nd minute, but Tom Craddock’s close range effort took a big deflection andOxfordhad to settle for a corner.
Oxfordbegan the second half looking as though they were going all out for an early equaliser, but it was the home side who struck first.
ASHLEY VINCENTchased what looked to be a lost cause when he ran after a ball over the top from Sam Morsy and from the tightest of angles he beat ‘keeper Ryan Clarke to put Vale two-nil up in the 51st minute.
Four minutes later Vale made their first substitution when Chris Shuker came off the bench to replace Ryan Burge in the middle of the park.
In the 60th minute Vale increased their lead. Jennison Myrie-Williams collected the ball on the left flank and laid it back to SAM MORSY, 23 yards from goal. The Vale midfielder hit a thunderous shot past Clarke, who stood no chance of stopping it.
In fairness to the visitors, they kept going at the Vale as though they still believed there was a chance of getting themselves back in the game.
An off balance Sean Rigg put a close range effort over the Vale crossbar, under pressure, but still Chris Neal in the Vale goal had little to do.
Vale completed their changes in the 75th minute with a double substitution. On came Adam Yates for Richard Duffy and Louis Dodds was replaced by Ben Williamson.
Myrie-Williams almost added a fourth when he turned Capaldi before cutting inside and running at the defence. He unleashed a venomous drive which rattled the frame of the goal.