Oldham Athletic 3-2 Port Vale: the Valiants defence proved the side’s undoing as they lost a five goal thriller at Boundary Park.
Manager Darrell Clarke made two enforced changes to his Vale side with Aaron Martin coming in for the suspended Nathan Smith and Devante Rodney replacing the injured James Wilson.
It was a frenetic start to the first-half with the long ball emplyed by both sides. Vale had a couple of half chances for strikeforce Devante Rodney and David Amoo before they started to take charge by playing the ball on the ground. A good move involving James Gibbons saw his cross evade Devante Rodney but it was driven home by David Worrall at the far post to give Vale the lead on fifteen minutes.
Oldham came back into it when Lucas Covolan saved from Dearnley on 25 minutes but the same player brought the home side level on the half-hour mark when Vale failed to clear the ball.
The Valiants had other chances as the half drew to a close but Tom Conlon’s radar suffered a rare off day when he sent a free-kick wide. It was level at the break. Vale were showing promise when they passed the ball on the ground while the home side, who weren’t afraid to put in the odd industrial tackle, were more reliant on the long ball.
Half-time: Oldham Athletic 1-1 Port Vale
The Valiants enjoyed a great start to the second period when the impressive Gibbons converted an excellent low ball from David Amoo to put the Valiants 2-1 in front. It looked like the Vale were going to coast to a win at that point as they dominated the game in the opening stages of the second-half.
David Amoo shot over while Gibbons almost netted another and Tom Conlon rattled the woodwork as Vale were unable to stretch their lead. It proved to be costly as the home side came into it via some poor defending from the Vale. The Valiants had already been grateful to some fine saves from Lucas Covolan before former Valiant Sam Hart forced the ball home from another set-piece to make it 2-2 on 81 minutes. Then as the game entered the final minutes, another Oldham set-piece was not defended and the ball went in via Aaron Martin’s head to make it 3-2 to the home side.
Vale pushed in vain for an equaliser with keeper Lucas Covolan going up for the final corners but it was too little too late as their inability to defend the aerial ball cost them dearly. It was a poor result for Vale who will consider a solid showing by Lucas Covolan and lively performances by Gibbons (so unlucky to be on a losing side) and Amoo as positives. However, there are now likely to be changes at the back, with Nathan Smith available for selection again, when the side faces bitter rivals Walsall in midweek.
Full-time: Oldham Athletic 3-2 Port Vale
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Port Vale: Covolan; Cass, Martin, Jones; Worall (Legge), Garrity (Taylor), Pett, Conlon, Gibbons; Amoo (Politic), Rodney
Subs: Stone, Johnson, Walker, Lloyd
Vale bookings: Garrity
Attendance: 6,080 (1,973 away)