The Valiants move to 46 points in League One following batting performance against Oxford United at Vale Park on Easter Monday.
- Match Report | Port Vale 0 – 0 Oxford United
- Valiants denied by excellent second half performance from Oxford United stopper Simon Eastwood, as points are shared
- Academy forward James Plant makes league debut and Dennis Politic is sent off in second half added time as the Valiants finish with ten men on Easter Monday
Port Vale battled to a 0-0 draw against Oxford United on Easter Monday, arresting a slide that had seen Darrell Clarke’s side lose their last two League One fixtures with below par performances.
In truth, the Valiants could well have won it in the second half as an inspired Simon Eastwood performance in the Oxford goal denied Clarke’s side a winner as Tom Conlon, Ellis Harrison and Tom Pett were denied, while Will Forrester chipped an effort onto the crossbar.
Dennis Politic was sent off late on for the Valiants as he received his marching orders following a challenge with Oxford defender Stephen Negru in second half added time.
Clarke had named five changes from the Good Friday defeat at Accrington Stanley as Aidan Stone, Mal Benning, Dave Worrall, Tom Conlon and Ellis Harrison all returned to the starting XI.
The Valiants were the brighter side in the early exchanges and created the first opportunity of the game when James Wilson broke on the right side and found Conlon, who threaded a pass in behind for Gavin Massey, though his effort was deflected behind for a corner.
Soon after, a Worrall corner was headed inches wide by Harrison as Clarke’s side looked to get themselves in front before the break.
Having gone in at the break level, the Valiants came out of the blocks quickly in the second half and were denied an opener within 20 seconds of the restart as Pett’s effort from the edge of the area was well saved by Eastwood.
Pett fired wide following a succession of Vale corners as the game passed 50 minutes before the Valiants were reminded of their defensive responsibilities when Stone had to make a couple of comfortable saves and Aaron Donnelly made a strong last-ditch tackle when the visitors looked to break.
On 68 minutes, the Valiants’ continued pressure almost paid off as Benning kept a corner alive, sending a right-footed cross to the centre of the penalty area where Forrester diverted the ball onto the top of the crossbar.
Politic and Port Vale Academy youngster James Plant were introduced 20 minutes from time, the latter for his league debut for the club.
The game opened up as it entered the final 20 minutes with Benning seeing an effort deflected over at the back post before Stone had to deny O’Donkor at his near post at the other end.
Politic may have won his side a penalty when he dribbled on from the left side and looked to be fouled, though nothing was given and seconds later Conlon fired a wonderful effort towards the top corner and was denied by Eastwood.
Eastwood then denied a near post effort from Harrison and a long range strike from Politic as the Valiants upped the ante in search of a winner.
However, Clarke’s side were thankful to a goal-line clearance in the final minute from Forrester as the defender excellently cleared Kyle Joseph’s goal-bound effort.
In the second minute of four additional minutes at the end of the 90, Politic was dismissed for a foul on Negru as the duo challenged for an aerial ball, though the latter looked to be caught by the Vale’s on loan forward and he received a red card for the foul.
Port Vale: Stone; Forrester, Smith, Donnelly; Worrall, Pett, Conlon, Benning; Massey (Plant 69), Harrison, Wilson (Politic 69).
Subs: Proctor, Holden, Agyakwa, Butterworth, Robinson.
Oxford United: Eastwood; Long, Negru (Smith 90), Findlay, Brown; McGuane, Brannagan; Joseph, Browne (Wildschut 62), Murphy (Fleming 71); O’Donkor.
Subs: McGinty, Smyth, Golding, Goodrham.