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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Oldham Athletic 0-1 Port Vale

20 October 2018

Tom Pope scores from the spot on his return from injury to send all three points back to Burslem for Port Vale.

The Valiants have ended their three-game losing run in the league with a spirited win at Boundary Park over Oldham Athletic.

Tom Pope netted a penalty in the 37th minute, after Luke Hannant was brought down off the ball, to ensure the Valiants gain all three points in Manchester.

Vale were fastest out of the blocks following kick-off and it proved a cagey affair from the get-go as Hannant and Jordan Lyden both picked up bookings for an off the ball altercation, though Vale showed positive intent during the opening encounters of the tie.

However, despite the early pressure, Neil Aspin’s side were fortunate not to be behind on eight minutes. Rob Hunt did well down the left-hand side before he whipped a dangerous ball along the six-yard box, though no blue bodies could get on the end of the cross as it whistled across the face of the goal and away from danger.

Within minutes Vale were up the other and Aspin will be left scratching his head as to how his side didn’t go ahead on 12 minutes. A short free-kick was played to Luke Joyce who hung up a delightful cross into the Oldham box. Vale threw everything at it as Legge rose highest to meet the cross though his attempt crashed against the bar. The rebound fell to Nathan Smith whose header was brilliantly saved by Daniel Iverson, just before Ben Whitfield had a shot blocked from 10 yards.

On 24 minutes, Oldham were next to go close though Callum Lang’s long-range effort flew high and wide of Scott Brown’s goal from the edge of the box.

The Latics found their feet as the half pressed on and Brown did well in the Vale net to keep things level. The ball pinged about the edge of the box before it fell perfectly for Dan Gardner to strike one from range. The midfielder caught hold of the ball beautifully as his volley headed goal-wards, however the Vale stopper was equal to the effort as he palmed away from danger.

With 37 minutes played, the deadlock was broken, and it was the Valiants who were rewarded for their early dominance.

There looked no danger as the ball was headed out of play for an Oldham goal-kick, however The Latics skipper Peter Clarke was adjudged to have fouled Hannant inside the box to award Aspin’s side a penalty, with the Vale winger nowhere near the ball.

Pope stepped up and made no mistake as he slotted home into the bottom left-hand corner, sending the ‘keeper the opposite way - his first league goal since the away tie with Forest Green Rovers. The skipper's goal saw the sides head into the half-time break with Vale one goal to the good.

Within four minutes of the restart, The Latics were almost level as a dangerous corner-kick caused confusion inside the Vale six-yard-box and Connell Rawlinson almost steered the ball into his own net, though his header smacks against the cross-bar. The Valiants eventually cleared their lines to relieve any danger.

Vale really dug in deep during the opening stages of the second-half as Oldham pushed everything at Aspin’s side. Tom Conlon most notably with two huge blocks to keep the Latics front-line at bay.

As the half-pressed on, Aspin’s side continued to soak up the pressure as Oldham maintained the lion share of the possession. Gardner and Jose Baxter both provided scares from the edge of the box, before Clarke stubs one wide from six yards, though the Vale defensive-line remained solid.

Soaking up wave-after-wave of Oldham Athletic attacks, the Valiants put everything on the line for the cause and eventually secure all three points at Boundary Park - a brilliant performance from Aspin's side.

Teams

Port Vale: Brown, Joyce, Legge, Pope, Hannant (Dodds, 81), Rawlinson, Smith, Vassell, Conlon, Clark (Gibbons, 85), Whitfield (Kanu, 75)

Unused Subs: Kay, Worrall, Hornby, Hardcastle

Oldham Athletic: Iverson, Edmundson, Lyden (Benteke, 70), Gardner, Baxter, O’Grady, Lang, Hunt, Clarke, Branger-Engone (Nepomuceno, 45), Hamer

Unused Subs: Dummigan, Missilou, Graham, McFarlane, Maouche


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