HomeFeaturedLocal SportAfter the Lord Mayor’s show – Valiants disappoint against Latics

After the Lord Mayor’s show – Valiants disappoint against Latics

If ever there was a case of “After the Lord Mayor’s Show” it was today as Vale were held 0-0 by twentieth placed Oldham Athletic at a cold and damp Vale Park. Missing David Worrall, having picked up his fifth booking away at Bradford in midweek, Vale always seemed off the pace and missing that individual to unlock a sturdy Latics defence.

That said, the Valiants begun brightly with good interchange between Montano, Taylor and Browne freeing the Winger down the left, but his cross was charged down for a corner. The corner was taken short, but it was over elaborate, and Oldham forced Vale back to the their own halfway line and the danger was averted.

On five minutes, Vale should have been ahead, Amoo making good progress down the right-hand side, pulling the ball back to an unmarked Taylor, although slightly behind him, the midfielder pivoted but could only fizz his shot wide of the right upright when he really should have scored. Three minutes later, Vale won a free kick around their own halfway line, Joyce squaring to Gibbons in the centre circle, the right back charging forward around 10 yards and letting fly with a speculative effort but, although well struck, in bounced wide of the left-hand post.

On eleven, more good play down the right, this time Gibbons dinking a ball over the Oldham back four. Amoo and Taylor both read it well and it was Taylor that tried to pull the ball back but he’s unlucky after the ball ricochets off the defender and himself out for a Goal Kick. On fourteen, a good break from Amoo deep in his own half, allowed him to charge past both Centre Backs reaching the Latics penalty box, but he had his pocket picked by the retreating Left Back, no shout from his team mates to warn him and Iacovitti cleared for the visitors.

Seventeen minutes in, the first real scare for the Valiants, a poor pass from Legge allowing Oldham to stream forward and it took desperate defending to keep Azankpo and Hamer from opening the scoring for the visitors.

Given Referee Lewis’s average ‘caution count’ it was surprising that it took until the twentieth minute for Vale’s Taylor to pick up the first caution of the game as he overran a ball and was deemed to overreach in his challenge with the Latics midfielder. Vale continued to apply pressure though and on twenty-three, Vale picked up a Corner, Burgess floating it in, De La Paz being forced to punch clear. Joyce floated the ball in again, Bennett heading back across goal, with Smith doing wonderfully well to chest the ball down and fire goalward on the half volley but De La Paz spread himself well to save in the centre of the goal.

Twenty-eight minutes in, good work down the Vale left by Bennett won a corner, Burgess to deliver, but this one rather “popped up” and the Latics Keeper took above the defence with ease. On On thirty-one, Oldham won their first corner; Smith taking it as Taylor headed clear with Amoo helping it on its way clear. Oldham continued their little spell of pressure, winning a free kick, 35 yards out, but Brown handled comfortably on the bounce in front of his right-hand post.

On thirty-four, Burgess took a free kick in the right handle channel, 35 yards out, trying an intricate set piece pass but the Latics read it well and the chance is wasted. Five minutes later, Vale won a corner as Amoo tried to pass Stott, but he was forced to accept the corner after a desperate tackle from the defender. Burgess drilled this one across to the back post, but it drifted out and that was a further chance wasted for the Valiants.

On forty, Joyce’s cross picked out Amoo who headed goalward with De La Paz forced to concede the corner, this one aimed into the front post and the defender was forced to head behind for another set piece. This time it was played short as Browne surged into the area but again Vale were made to settle for a corner. This one came over and De La Paz fisted it clear.

As the half drew to a close, further excellent work in the Midfield freed up Montano who strode into the left-hand chancel and shot from distant towards to the bottom left hand corner but De La Paz did well, diving to his right to keep the Vale left back out.

The Second half continue where the previous half left off, Legge being forced to concede the corner after a lapse in concentration. Oldham’s Smith taking it deep to the edge of the box, Hamer having a clean shot on goal, but Brown gathered well in the centre of the goal.

On fifty-two Vale won their first corner of the half, over worked again and Oldham cleared their lines. A minute later Burgess took a snapshot from thirty yards out, but De La Paz had everything behind and takes in his midriff.

On fifty-four the visitors Azankpo might have done better, getting free in the left-hand channel but he dragged his effort wide right.

Three minutes later, Amoo won a corner down the right as his cross was charged down. Burgess still on corner duty, drifted his corner to the penalty spot, heads going up but Oldham cleared, The drama was not over though as a horror pass from Montano, passing blind to his left, set Oldham on the counter but the winger recovers well and managed to prevent any real consequence for the Valiants.

On fifty-nine, Vale made their first substitution, Taylor leaving the field for Atkinson to enter the fray. A minute later won a further corner, Burgess again taking and again, Oldham head it clear. Vale though win the ball back and despite a Montano “airshot” pass he somehow recovers to set Atkinson free, but the midfielder over hits his cross with three white shirts baying for the ball in the six yard box.

On sixty-four Vale secured a further corner to the Valiants, but as previously, Oldham clear, Legge this time missing out on his aerial challenge.

The Latics did show flashes though and on sixty-six, Iacovitti won a corner for the visitors, Smith firing it over, but its poor and Vale clear at the near post.

The football god’s continued to frown upon Vale on seventy-two, Atkinson going down under a challenge in the box but it would have been soft, saying that, Vale have had two against them this last week so it might have been time to throw the Valiants an advantage.

On seventy-four, a free kick for Vale from Joyce was thrown over but the resolute Oldham defence stand firm, despite a shout of handball against Smith of the Latics.

On seventy-six, Vale made their last throw of the dice as Cullen and Pope came on for Bennett and Burgess.

With ten minutes regulation time remaining, Vale won a corner through Gibbons down the Vale right, Browne taking this one after the departure of Burgess. A real daisy cutter but Oldham clear at the front post.

Vale though breather a huge sigh of relief on eighty-four as the visitors should have wrapped up all three points. A great run down the inside left channel by Johnny Smith, firing across the Vale six-yard box, but somehow Azankpo spooned it over the bar when it was easier to score.

On eighty-six Vale won a further Corner, Browne having another go, this one short to Cullen, before the cross comes over but Oldham clear again.

The visitors continued to see out the game, indeed the Latics had two corners in the injury time, but clearly no side was destined to pick up the three points on offer and the Valiants sent home their fans frustrated yet again after such a good result in mid-week.

Mike Stubbs
Mike Stubbs
Port Vale Sports Reporter

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