Oldham Athletic v Port Vale
Tuesday 1st March 2016
At Boundary Park
Attendance: 3,507 including 338 visiting supporters
Vale earned themselves a point away from home on a difficult Boundary Park playing surface on a bitterly cold Lancashire night against an Oldham Athletic side unbeaten in their previous six games.
Sam Foley put the Valiants in from in the 60th minute and moments later Ajay Leitch-Smith spurned the chance to double Vale’s lead when unmarked, he lifted his shot well over the crossbar.
Shortly afterwards the home side were awarded a penalty kick and although Chris Neal saved the initial kick from Latic’s skipper Liam Kelly, the Oldham man followed up to slam the ball into an empty net for the equaliser.
There were no surprises when the Vale team was announced ahead of the kick off as Rob Page went with the same side that did so well against Southend United in Vale’s previous game.
Ryan Inniss, back from injury, had to make do with a seat on the bench – he replaced Remie Streete, who didn’t make the eighteen.
Vale began the game in a positive manner but were soon pegged back by the home side who, full of confidence following their recent run of game, believed they could cause Vale problems.
The two sides looked very evenly matched and play tended to switch from one end to the other in the opening few minutes, neither side bossing things.
Sam Foley went close when he was played in by Ajay Leitch-Smith. He ran at goal and hit a low shot towards the near post but Coleman in the Latics’ goal held at the second attempt.
The home side were looking slightly the more dangerous of the two sides without causing Chris Neal too many problems, with the Vale defence doing well to protect their goal.
A surging run from inside his own half down the right flank by Carl Dickinson almost ended in a goal for the Vale.
The Vale skipper left two Oldham players in his wake as he sprinted down the left flank before sending in cross which was met y the head of Leitch-Smith, but the ‘keeper saved comfortably.
With Vale pressing for an opening goal, a 35 yard free kick taken by Michael O’Connor flew straight into the midriff of Coleman.
Vale were finding it difficult to penetrate the Oldham back line and it was difficult to see where a goal was going to come from for the visitors.
There was a scare for the Vale right on half time when a speculative 30 yard drive from Liam Kelly was spilled by Chris Neal, who managed to grab hold of the ball at the second attempt.
The home side carved Vale open early on in the second half with the ball eventually dropping for Matthew Palmer, but his shot from outside the box failed to trouble Chris Neal.
Vale were beginning to look a little rattled with the home side applying a bit of pressure and starting to find openings in the Vale defence.
Oldham couldn’t manage to keep Vale pegged back, however and Vale began to exert pressure of their own as they attacked their own supporters.
GOAL:On the hour Vale’s pressure was rewarded when the ball came out to SAM FOLEY just outside the box and he smashed it into the back of the net via a deflection.
Vale really should have added a second goal five minutes later when Leitch-Smith broke away, and squared the ball across the box.
It fell to Sam Foley, who showed some neta footwork, feigning to go one way then the other before shooting at goal.His shot was saved and spilled, but Leitch-Smith smashed the loose ball over the bar.
Vale were to rue that miss on 67 minutes when Richard Duffy brought down Anthony Gerrad inside the box and the referee pointed straight at the spot.
GOAL:Oldham skipper Liam Kelly hit the spot kick to Chris Neal’s right, but the Vale ‘keeper guessed right and made the save but couldn’t hold on to it and Kelly followed up to slam the loose ball over the line from a yard out.
Substitute Theo Robinson, on for Leitch-Smith, was within a whisker of getting a toe to a low cross from Louis Dodds as Vale kept searching for the decisive goal.
Amadi-Holloway could have won it for the home six with six minutes remaining when he collected and turned in one go on the edge of the Vale area but somehow misdirected his shot off target with just Neal to beat.
OLDHAM ATHLETIC: Joel Coleman, Timothee Dieng, James Wilson, Liam Kelly, Mike Jones Aaron Amadi-Holloway, Matthew Palmer, Anthony Gerrard, Curtis Main, Daniel Lafferty, Cameron Dummigan. SUBS: David Cornell, Joseph Mills, Lee Croft, Jake Cassidy, Carl Winchester, Rhys Murphy, Brian Wilson
PORT VALE: Chris Neal. Ben Purkiss, Carl Dickinson, Ryan McGivern, Richard Duffy, Michael O’Connor, Matty Kennedy, Louis Dodds, Sam Foleym Ajay Leitch-Smith, Anthony Grant. SUBS: JJ Hooper, Adam Yates, Michael Brown, Sam Kelly, Ryan Boot, Ryan Inniss.