Port Vale v Fleetwood Town
At Vale Park
Tuesday 29th September 2015
Attendance: 4,065 including 281 visiting supporters
Uche Ikpeazu came off the bench to net his fifth goal of the season, as Vale came from behind to claim a point after trailing at the interval.
Vale had plenty of possession in the game and at times had the visitors pegged back, but the home side seemed to lack quality in front of goal, where it really mattered.
David Dunn’s side led at the break thanks to Michael Higdon’s 35th minute goal, but Vale gave everything after the break and were a little unfortunate not to add to Ikpeazu’s goal.
Rob Page made three changes to the starting line-up. Colin Daniel, goalscorer at Fleetwood in Vale’s previous game, came in for Uche Ikpeazu and Remie Streete in for the injured Ryan Inniss.
The game also saw the return of Enoch Andoh, who came in to take up the vacancy left by the injury to Louis Dodds - he was left out as a precautionary measure after picking up a slight thigh strain.
The visitors started the game on the front foot, showing their attacking intentions, but Vale soon settled down and began to pose a few problems for the visitors’ back line.
There was no room for complacency, however, and credit to the Latics, who were making it an open games, pressing Vale back at every opportunity.
Jak Alnwick was called into action in the 13th minute, moving sharply to his left to keep out a 22 yard drive from Oldham midfielder Mike Jones.
As the first half went on, Oldham’s forward play began to fade, with Vale having the majority of the possession and continuously posing a threat, though Latics’ ‘keeper David Cornell didn’t have an awful lot to do.
His main contribution to the game was to pluck the occasional cross out of the air, but he rarely had to make a save worth talking about.
GOAL: But despite Vale’s dominance, they went behind in the 35th minute when Michael Higdon met a right wing corner taken by Jones, to plant a firm header past Jak Alnwick.
Vale continued to press, but they lacked the necessary quality in the final third and they almost paid for their lack of fire power when the visitors went close to doubling their lead in the 45th minute.
Alnwick could only parry Poleon’s fierce 25 yard drive and Higdon was on to the loose ball in a flash, but the Oldham goalscorer lifted the ball over the crossbar.
Vale began the second half in a determined mood, putting plenty of pressure on the visitors’ defence, obviously looking to get back on level terms early on.
Vale then made a change up front, with Uche Ikpeazu coming off the bench to replace Ajay Leitch-Smith, with the manager hoping to see the Watford loanee cause problems with his physical presence.
Ikpeazu almost set up an equaliser when he burst in from the right before playing the ball low into the box. The ball took a couple of deflections before falling into the path of Anthony Grant, whose powerful 20 yard effort was not too far off target.
GOAL: Vale drew level in the 70th minute when UCHE IKPEAZU beat Latics’ ‘keeper Cornell from 8 yards after Foley played the ball in to him from the right.
Daniel went close with a header after Carl Dickinson had worked the ball down the left and crossed towards the far post, with Vale increasing the pressure on the visitors, but a second goal wouldn’t come and Vale had to settle for a point.
PORT VALE: Jack Alnwick, Ben Purkiss, Remie Streete, Richard Duffy, Carl Dickinson, Byron Moore, Antony Grant, Sam Foley, Enoch Andoh, Ajay Leitch-Smith, Colin Daniel. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Chris Birchall, Ryan McGivern, JJ Hooper, Uche Ikpeazu, Michael Brown, Ryan Lloyd
OLDHAM ATHLETIC: David Cornell, Connor Brown, Timothee Dieng, James Wilson, Liam Kelly, Lee Croft, Mike Jones, Dominic Poleon, Jonathan Burn, Jay Fulton, Michael Higdon. SUBS: Joe Coleman, Danny Philliskirk, Carl Winchester, Mark Yeates, Simonas Stankevicius, Richard Eckersley, George Edmondson