Port Vale bounced back from their midweek defeat with a fine hard fought victory at Boundary Park.
John Askey brought Scott Burgess and David Amoo into his starting line-up and it was the latter who was influential in the opening stages as Vale dominated. The Valiants were attacking down the flanks at will in sharp contrast to their second-half display at Cambridge.
On ten minutes, Theo Robinson’s shot was somehow deflected onto the woodwork but Vale persisted and moments later defender Nathan Smith headed home from a corner to give the Valiants the lead. As it neared the half-hour, it was still all Vale and defender Nathan Smith headed wide as Oldham were restricted to a couple of half chances for Zac Dearnley.
On 38 minutes, the Valiants scored a deserved second when right-back Mitch Clark cut inside to score his first senior goal and it could have been more as Oldham’s defence struggled to cope with Amoo in particular.
The home side changed both full-backs at the break, probably because of Amoo’s influence and Oldham came back into the game on 47 minutes when Dearnley scored from close range.
It was a far more even contest in the second period, probably due to Amoo tiring on his return to the starting XI. However, there were still chances for the Valiants with Amoo and Tom Conlon both having efforts on target. However, probably the defining moment was when the impressive Mitch Clark headed off the line on 82 minutes to keep Vale in the lead.
The Valiants kept the ball in the closing moments as they shut out the win. There had been some fine performances with the returning Amoo catching the eye, Tom Conlon and Scott Burgess impressing in the engine room while David Worrall looked like he had also returned to form. However, perhaps the stand out performer was Mitch Clark who both scored and made a match winning defensive contribution, while in rainy conditions, it was also a game in which Vale’s consistent defenders played their part with Smith and Legge looking dominant at the back. After creating so many more chances than at Cambridge this was Vale back to their best and recording a most welcome three points.
Port Vale team:
Brown, Clark, Legge, Smith, Montano (Rodney), Joyce, Burgess, Conlon, Worrall, Robinson (Pope), Amoo (Fitzpatrick)
Subs: Visser, Brisley, Crookes, Whitehead