Late Winchester Strike Secures Away Point
Carl Winchester’s goal deep into additional time for Oldham Athletic sealed a dramatic, but deserved, point.
The midfielder smashed home through a host of bodies to equalise in the final minute of additional time to earn a valuable point.
Athletic took the lead early into the second half through an Ollie Banks deflected free kick, after dominating the first half.
However, two goals against the run of play looked to give Port Vale the win as Remie Street and Rigino Cicilia grabbed the goals, but Winchester’s strike earned a valuable point for Athletic.
Manager Stephen Robinson made two changes to his side which narrowly lost to league leaders Scunthorpe United at the weekend.
Paul Green missed out through suspension whilst Cameron Dummigan was suffering from a slight hamstring niggle, both were replaced by Ousmane Fane and Josh Law.
It would be Athletic who would dominate the opening 45 minutes, going close to opening the scoring on several occasions.
Ollie Banks was at the heart of the action for Latics and on six minutes, his long ball set Ryan McLaughlin free. He laid the ball into the path of Law whose dangerous cross was picked up by Freddie Ladapo.
The striker swivelled in the penalty area but his shot was blocked in front of goal and it was behind for an Oldham Athletic corner.
Whilst the corner did not come to anything, Athletic continued to pick holes in the Port Vale defence and exploit space on a big pitch.
Latics were getting joy down the right hand side as Law’s whipped cross on 20 minutes was turned over his own crossbar by Remie Streete.
From the resulting corner, Clarke rose highest from Banks’ corner but a wonder save from Port Vale goalkeeper Ben Alnwick prevented Athletic from taking a deserved lead.
Athletic had the momentum and the following corner was headed across the box from McLaughlin but Cameron Burgess stabbed inches wide of Alnwick’s goal.
Defensively, Athletic were solid throughout the half and were only tested once on the half hour mark but Sam Kelly’s effort went wide of Connor Ripley’s goal.
Billy Mckay and Banks both went close soon after before Fane released Ladapo in the penalty area but the striker, who cut back inside, dragged his shot wide of Alnwick’s goal.
Paulo Tavares was booked as half time approached whilst Vale were forced to make their first change of the evening as Anton Forrester went off injured.
Athletic pressed until the final minute of the half and almost found the lead into additional time.
Banks, who had an impressive first half, controlled in the middle of the park, the ball sat up perfectly for him from 30 yards but his shot flew inches over the crossbar as it remained goalless at the break.
It was a frantic opening to the second half but Athletic did take the lead on 48 minutes through Banks.
The midfielder struck a free kick from the edge of the box, it deflected off the wall but past Alnwick as Athletic took a deserved lead.
And seconds later, Athletic thought they had doubled their lead after persistent work from Flynn created an opening, he crossed to the back post but Ladapo was adjudged to have handled into the goal.
Within seconds of that incident, Vale won a free kick and Ryan Taylor’s delivery found the head of Street who stooped home from close range to bring Vale level.
That goal came completely against the run of play for the hosts as Latics had frustrated them for the whole of the game.
Fane was booked just after the hour mark which forced Robinson to take the midfielder off in place of Carl Winchester.
The midfielder almost made an immediate impact as he raced on to a loose ball in the penalty area, stabbed at goal but somehow the ball deflected wide of the far post.
Athletic had to be wary of the counter attack as Cecilina struck wide from 25 yards with Ripley beaten.
Two minutes later and somehow Port Vale managed to take the lead, completely against the run of play, again.
Alex Jones’ initial effort effort was expertly saved by Ripley, however, Taylor played the ball back to Cecilina who placed past the goalkeeper to put Vale ahead.
That was a sucker punch to Latics who had dominated the game throughout.
Robinson made changes and brought on Lee Croft and Lee Erwin to add fire power in attack and one of those changes almost levelled the game with five minutes remaining.
Winchester laid the ball into the path of Erwin who curled towards the top corner but it smashed the crossbar to the annoyance of Latics.
Athletic battled and battled until the final minutes of the game.
Deep into five minutes of additional time, a ball was hammered across the area and Winchester struck through a host of bodies to equalise for Latics in the dying seconds.
It was nothing more than Athletic deserved and Winchester’s final minute goal secured a vital point.
Port Vale: Alnwick, Streete, Knops, Kelly, Tavares (Pereira 51’), Paterson (Cicilia 59’), Forrester (Kiko 40’), Smith, Jones, De Freitas, Taylor.
Subs not used: Macintosch, Mbamba, Santos, Amoros.
Oldham Athletic: Ripley, Law, Burgess, Clarke, Dunne, McLaughlin (Erwin 82’), Fane (Winchester 70’), Banks, Flynn (Croft 82’), Ladapo, Mckay.
Subs not used: Kettings, Reckord, Klok, Osei.
Goals: Port Vale (Streete 50’, Cecilina 78’) 2-2 Oldham Athletic (Banks 48’, Winchester 90+4’)
Attendance: 3,152 (148 visiting supporters)