First-half goals from Nathan Smith and Mitch Clark secured a deserved 2-1 win at Boundary Park for the Valiants, as they despatched of Oldham Athletic.
Zachary Dearnley’s early second-half goal pulled Oldham back to within one goal of the Valiants, but it was not enough to stop us taking three points back to Vale Park.
A bright start from Vale led to the first chance of the game after just two minutes, when Theo Robinson’s effort was deflected just over the bar by Oldham captain Carl Piergianni, with Vale trying to exert an early dominance in the game.
And it was Robinson who had the next chance of the game five minutes later, when his turn in the box opened up the space for him to unleash an effort at goal, but Piergianni was there again to deflect the striker’s shot over the bar.
Robinson and Piergianni’s personal battle continued just a minute later, with our number twelve looking like he would surely put the Vale ahead from inside the six-yard box, but the Oldham captain miraculously managed to deflect Robinson’s shot onto the post and wide for a Vale corner.
Vale’s early dominance eventually paid off, when after 12 minutes David Worrall swung a corner onto Nathan Smith’s head, who made no mistake when he powered his header from six-yards past Ian Lawlor into the back of the net to give the Vale a deserved lead.
The following 15 minutes represented a controlled period of possession for Vale, and whilst the Valiants didn’t create any particularly clear-cut chances, there was always an air Vale dominance in the game.
Smith could have doubled his tally just before the half-hour mark, when David Worrall’s deep cross into the box was headed into the path of the centre back by David Amoo, but Smith’s header flew just wide of the target.
But Vale would get the deserved two-goal cushion in a wonderful fashion in the 38th minute, when Mitch Clark cut inside from the right-wing and unleased a beautifully curled left-footed strike from 18-yards into the bottom left-hand
corner, scoring the first goal of his professional football career and extending Vale’s lead.
Vale could have made it three on the half-time whistle, when Amoo’s cross was touched on by Robinson to Worrall, whose shot was blocked by a number of Oldham bodies, before being cleared away, meaning Vale’s lead would remain at two goals at the break.
However, the second-half couldn’t have started any worse for the Valiants, as Dylan Bahamboula’s flick from a corner, fell into the path of Zachary Dearnley whose effort found its way into the back of Scott Brown’s net to bring the Latics back into the game.
With 61 minutes on the clock, Amoo had a golden chance to mark his impressive return with a goal, when Cristian Montano’s low ball into the box found the wide man just outside the six-yard box, but his effort was pushed away by Lawlor, before being cleared by the Oldham defence.
Carl Piergianni had the chance to level for our hosts seven minutes later, when he met Danny Rowe’s corner with his head, but his effort flew just wide of Brown’s post.
After already scoring for Vale in the game, Mitch Clark prevented Oldham from grabbing an equaliser at the other end of the pitch, when Harry Clarke’s looping header from a corner looked destined for the back of the net, before Mitch prevented the ball from crossing the line by heading the ball away with nine minutes of normal time remaining.
Tom Conlon had two opportunities in the closing stages to wrap the points up, his first being an effort on the angle of the box which curled just over the bar, his second being intercepted inside the box after Montano played a ball through to the midfielder.
Scott Brown was called into action with four minutes of the 90 remaining, when Bahamboula’s long range effort was pushed away for a corner by our number one at his near post.
And Brown’s save proved to be the last significant action of the game, with an assured performance by the Valiants securing us a deserved three points, ahead of the visit of Cheltenham Town to Vale Park on Tuesday evening.
Oldham Athletic: Lawlor, Clarke, Piergianni, Hamer (Fage 45’), Barnett (Borthwick-Jackson 45’), Whelan (Keillor-Dunn 77’), Bahamboula, McCalmont, Rowe, McAleny, Dearnley.
Unused subs: Bilboe, Grant, Jameson, Ntambwe
Port Vale: Brown, Clark, Legge, Smith, Montano (Rodney 88’), Joyce, Burgess, Conlon, Amoo (Fitzpatrick 71’), Worrall, Robinson (Pope 80’).
Unused subs: Visser, Brisley, Whitehead, Cullen.