Port Vale v Peterborough United
At Vale Park
Saturday 17th October 2015
Attendance: 4,864 including 454 visiting supporters
Sam Foley’s birthday celebrations will have been spoiled somewhat after the midfielder was denied the chance to score the winning goal when his 86th minute spot kick hit the bar before coming back and hitting the ‘keeper before bouncing harmlessly away for a goal kick.
He wasn’t the only one to miss from the spot, however, as fellow midfielder Michael O’Connor had a penalty saved by Ben Alnwick when Vale were one-nil up.
Vale had taken the lead when Enoch Andoh put them in front in the 40th minute with his first goal for the club, only for the visitors to draw level, ironically from the spot, when Jak Alnwick was beaten from 12 yards by Michael Bostwick in the 56th minute.
Vale made three changes to the starting line-up for the game against a revitalised Peterborough United, who came into the game having won their previous three away fixtures.
Ryan McGivern made way for the return of Remie Streete at the heart of the Vale defence and Byron Moore came back in to the starting eleven, with Chris Birchall stepping down.
But the big thing on everybody’s tongues at the start of the game was the long-awaited appearance of Michael O’Connor, returning from an injury to make his first appearance since picking up a bad injury in pre-season.
For the neutrals, it was one of those rare occasions when two brothers were to face each other, each one playing in goal - Jak Alnwick for the Vale and older brother Ben between the sticks for the Posh.
Peterborough began the game on the front foot but it didn’t take Vale too longto switch the play and put the visitors under pressure.
Posh created a great opportunity to take the lead in the 9th minute when Smith slotted a slide-rule pass through into the box for Angol to hit first time, but Alnwick came off his line smartly to smother the shot.
Vale fans in the Lorne Street Stand made their feelings known to the referee’s assistant in front of them when he twice missed what appeared to be clear cut offside decisions when behind the play.
Vale were attacking at every opportunity, but the two sides were fairly evenly matched, with Peterborough looking dangerous whenever they pushed forward.
It was an open encounter, with both sides threatening to open the other up, but with the two defences equally determined to stand steady and defend resolutely.
GOAL: Vale had threatened on a couple of occasions and they finally managed to get their reward in the 40th minute of the game when a low cross from the right by Ben Purkiss was touched over the line from close quarters by ENOCH ANDOH.
Carl Dickinson almost added another goal in first half stoppage time with a powerful curling low 25 yard drive, but Ben Alnwick dived full length to his left to make the save.
In the 48th minute the spotlight was once again on the Peterborough ‘keeper. Diving to his right, he made a taerrific save to keep out a thunderbolt of a shot from Colin Daniel.
The Posh stopper couldn’t keep hold of the ball and Andoh raced in to the loose ball, only to be brought down by Alnwick and the referee immediately pointed to the spot.
It looked like it was going to be the dream return to the side when O’Connor planted the ball on the penalty spot, but seconds later he held his head in his hands when his penalty kick was saved by Ben Alnwick.
Minutes later it was his brother’s turn to face a penalty kick when substitute Souleymane Coulibaly was fouled inside the box and the referee immediately pointed to the spot.
GOAL: This time the outcome was not the same, however, and Jak Alnwick was unable to get a hand to the ball with MICHAEL BOSTWICK hammering the ball past him to level the scores.
Play continued to switch from one end to the other with the two sides committed to playing attacking football.
Vale made a change in the 66th minute when Chris Birchall came off the bench to take the place of Byron Moore.
There were chances going begging at both ends of the pitch and it was anybody’s guess as to which side, if any, was going to get what could prove to be the winning goal.
On 70 minutes Vale made their second substitution with Colin Daniel getting a great reception from the home support as he made way for Louis Dodds.
In the 83rd minute Vale took off a tiring Michael O’Connor and replaced him with the fresh legs of Ryan Lloyd.
Two minutes later Vale were again awarded a penalty kick, this time Uche Ikpeazu being upended inside the box. This time it was Sam Foley who put the ball on the spot.
Ben Alnwick and Foley were each trying to psyche each other out, and it was the ‘keeper who won the battle, when Foley’s spot-kick struck the crossbar, hit Alnwick on the back and bounced out for a goal kick.
PORT VALE: Jak Alnwick, Ben Purkiss, Carl Dickinson, Remie Streete, Richard Duffy, Michael O’Connor, Uche Ikpeazu, Sam Foley, Colin Daniel, Byron Moore, Enoch Andoh. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Ryan McGivern, Chris Birchall, Louis Dodds, Sam Kelly, Ajay Leith-Smith, Ryan Lloyd.
PETERBOROUGH UNITED: Ben Alnwick, Michael Smith, Gabriel Zakuani, Jon Taylor, Michael Bostwick, Ricardo Almeida-Santos, Conor Washington, Jermaine Anderson, Lee Angol, Callum Elder, Christopher Forrester, SUBS: Dion Curtis Henry, Kyle Vassell, Andrew Fox, Harry Anderson, Leo Da Silva Lopes, Souleymane Coulibaly, Jack Collison