Goals from Alex Iacovitti and Alfie Devine get the Valiants their first away win over Oxford United since 1997.
A quiet beginning to the game with neither side carving out any big chances. That changed on the 26th minute when Billy Bodin entered the area and fired an effort at Connor Ripley but the Vale keeper held onto the ball comfortably.
Three minutes later Bodin was in again, this time he met the ball with his head with a cross from the right but the Welshman did not get enough on the ball as it went out of play for a goal kick.
After another noneventful period of the game Oxford nearly took the lead after 39 minutes. A fortunate deflection put Tyler Goodrham in on goal but brilliant goalkeeping from Ripley, who rushed out to the ball, denied Oxford the one goal advantage.
Shortly after the second half kick off the hosts had an audacious effort which came from Bodin, his shot from 20-yards went high and wide into the home end behind the goal.
The Valiants’ first chance of the second half came from an Ethan Chislett free kick in a dangerous area on 49 minutes. His ball in met the head of Nathan Smith but the captain’s effort went wide of the Oxford goal.
The hosts responded shortly afterwards with an effort from former Valiant Mark Harris. He chopped in from the left before firing an effort back across the left-hand post but it went just wide.
It was then Gavin Massey’s turn to have a crack on 55 minutes as he too cut in from the left but his curling effort towards the top corner had too much on it as it rose over the crossbar.
Shots were coming in from both sides and on the hour mark Cameron Brannagan fired low and straight into the arms of Ripley.
The game then took a huge twist on 63 minutes when Harris was deemed to have elbowed Nathan Smith in the face and was given his marching orders.
But finally, we found a goal at the Kassam Stadium and it went the way of the Valiants. Josh Thomas won the freekick near the touchline and in line with the penalty area. Alfie Devine’s delivery was inch-perfect to find Alex Iacovitti who headed home on his birthday to put Vale in front on 74 minutes.
Oxford came close to levelling just five minutes later through Brannagan. He dragged his volley wide from outside of the area but it would have been some goal had it found the net.
But the hosts levelled in the third minute of stoppage time through Greg Leigh who was left unmarked at the back post. Oxford’s goal scorer Leigh was then sent off for a second bookable offence with a foul on Mitch Clark.
But the late drama continued in the 9th minute of stoppage time as Ben Garrity was taken down when he went one on one in front of goal. Devine stepped up and put the penalty away to produce incredible scenes in the away end.
Oxford United | James Beadle, Elliott Moore, Cameron Brannagan, Mark Harris, Billy Bodin (71’ Kyle Edwards), Fin Stevens, Marcus McGuane (90+3’ Sonny Perkins), Tyler Goodrham (78’ Josh McEachran), Ruben Rodrigues (78’ Stan Mills), Greg Leigh, Stephan Negru
Unused Subs | Simon Eastwood, Ciaron Brown, Oisin Smyth
Port Vale | Conor Ripley, Lewis Cass, Nathan Smith, Mitch Clark, Ethan Chislett (68’ Alfie Devine), Funso Ojo (87’ Jason Lowe), Alex Iacovitti, Ollie Arblaster (90+2 Tom Sang), Gavin Massey (68’ Josh Thomas), James Plant, James Wilson (Ben Garrity 46’)
Unused Subs | Jayson Leutweiler, Conor Grant