Port Vale v Wigan Athletic
At Vale Park
Saturday 12th September 2015
Attendance: 5,953 including 1,327 visiting supporters
Vale showed their credentials with a second home win on the bounce, this time against a good Wigan Athletic side who pushed Vale all the way.
Vale went in front in the 34th minute thanks to a fine strike from man of the match Anthony Grant, a driving force for the home side right from the kick off.
Louis Dodds put Vale further in front, turning to slam the ball into the roof of the Wigan net in the 64th minute, but McCann pulled one back two minutes later.
When Leon Barnett levelled in the 84th minute it looked like Wigan may snatch a point, or even all three, but Barnett was sent off three minutes later and Vale took full advantage when Uche Ikpeazu grabbed the winner right at the death.
Rob Page made two changes to the side which progressed to the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy against Carlisle United in Vale’s last game as he prepared to take on Wigan Athletic.
Chris Birchall, who hit two goals for the reserves in midweek and Jak McCourt, who impressed on his debut against the Cumbrians, each dropped out of the starting eleven.
Central defender Remi Streete, however, kept his place in the heart of the Vale defence, while Ryan Inniss had to settle for a seat on the Vale bench.
It was an indifferent start to the game, with neither side able to do too much damage, each of them trying to get on top but neither really managing it.
Vale went close to opening the scoring in the 11th minute when Byron Moore whipped the ball in from the right, but Uche Ikpeazu, stretching, couldn’t quite get enough on his header to connect cleanly.
At the other end the c=visitors almost struck when Haris Vuckic got his head on the end of a left wing cross, but was more than a little bit disappointed with himself for failing to hit the target.
Both sides were showing a willingness to attack without creating too much at either end. Vale were having slightly the better of it territorial-wise, but they knew they had to keep it tight at the back with the visitors always looking to exploit any space.
Anthony Grant was his usual self in the middle of the park, sliding in to win the ball and looking for the pass so Vale could build on his good work.
The visitors almost hit Val on the half hour when former Vale loanee Craig Davies was twice involved, playing the ball inside the box for a team mate, but Vale survived the scare.
GOAL:But it was Vale who drew first blood in the 34th minute when ANYTHONY GRANT took full advantage of a defensive mistake to smash a 20 yard drive past O’Donnell in the Wigan goal.
It was no more than Vale – and Grant in particular – deserved for a hard working display against a decent Wigan side who obviously believed they would get something from the game.
There was obviously still a long way to go to discover whether indeed Gary Caldwell’s side would indeed get something, but for now, Vale were in the driving seat.
Vale defender Richard Duffy did well to position himself in between Davies and a clean shot on goal as the Latics looked to hit back before half time, deflecting the shot for a corner.
Wigan were going flat out for an equaliser and with four minutes of added time indicated they certainly had a chance, but Vale managed to hold out until the break.
Vale came out of the traps looking sharp at the start of the second period, but mindful of Wigan's recent impressive comeback at Chesterfield.
Any threats of a Wigan comeback in this match looked to have diminished, with Vale well on top and they almost added a second goal when Carl Dickinson headed just over.
GOAL:Vale did get a second in the 64th minute when LOUIS DODDS capitalised on confusion in the visitors’ defence, turning sharply to fire high into the Wigan net.
GOAL:If Vale thought they had won it at that stage they were given a sharp reminder there was still a lot to do just two minutes later when Davies pulled the ball back for CHRIS McCANN to slam the ball past Jak Alnwick.
For a few ,minutes Vale looked more than a little rattled and it was obvious that the visitors had rediscovered the belief the points were very much still up for grabs.
Davies put the ball across the face of the Vale goal but despite two Wigan players rushing in, none of them managed to get a toe to it to apply the finishing touch.
GOAL:Wigan got the equaliser they had been looking for in the 84th minute when LEON BARNETT rose above the Vale defence to meet a left wing corner and plant a firm header into the Vale net.
Three minutes later Barnett was forced to leave the field of play when he was shown a red card after hacking down Enoch Andoh as he raced towards goal.
GOAL:The resulting free kick was only half cleared and Vale took full advantage when Purkiss put the ball into the Wigan box and UCHE IKPEAZE stuck the ball into the net from close range at the second attempt.
PORT VALE:Jak Alnwick, Ben Purkiss, Remi Streete, Richard Duffy, Carl Dickinson, Byron Moore, Sam Foley, Anthony Grant, Enoch Andoh, Louis Dodds, Uche Ikpeazu. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Chris Birchall, Ryan Inniss, Colin Daniel, Jak McCourt, Ryan Lloyd, Ajay Leitch-Smith
WIGAN ATHLETIC:Richard O’Donnell , Dave Perkins, Donervon Daniels, Reece James, Craig Davies, Michael Jacobs, Leon Barnett, Jason Pearce, Chris McCann, Haris Vuckic, Jonjoe Kenny. SUBS: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Will Grigg, Andy Kellett, Max Power, Sanmi Odelusi, Jordy Hiwula, Jack Hendry