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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Latics Held To Goalless Draw

2 January 2017

Oldham Athletic did everything but score as it ended goalless between Latics and Port Vale at SportsDirect.com Park.

Latics attacked from the first minute and Latics were denied twice by the post on a frustrating afternoon.

Freddie Ladapo stuck the post in the first half before substitute Carl Winchester had a golden opportunity to put Latics ahead but Port Vale stopper Jak Alnwick was found to be in outstanding form.

In the final minute of the game, Billy Mckay struck the post as Latics just could not force the ball over the line. 

Manager Stephen Robinson made three changes to the side which played Fleetwood Town two days previous with Lee Croft earning a start.

And the winger would be part of the first action of the game as Kjell Knops received an early booking for a late challenge on Croft.

It would be the visitors who had the first opportunity to take the lead as the ball was played back to Ryan Taylor in space on the edge of the box but the former Wigan Athletic man mis-kicked his effort.

Darius Osei was proving to be a handful in attack as he turned on the edge of the box on 13 minutes but his effort was blocked.

Latics were taking the game to Vale and they almost found a breakthrough five minutes later.

A strong 50 yard run from Ousmane Fane saw the ball fall into the path of Freddie Ladapo to strike but the goalkeeper made a good save.

The Crystal Palace loanee had a golden opportunity to put Latics ahead on 26 minutes as he beat the offside trap but struck the post when presented with a one-on-one opportunity. 

It was turning into a feisty encounter as Port Vale’s Sam Kelly entered the referee’s notebook for a late challenge whilst two minutes later, so did midfielder Ollie Banks.

Whilst Latics were much the better side in the opening 45 minutes, they had to be aware five minutes before the break.

Vale midfielder Kelly lined up a volley from the edge of the penalty area which forced Connor Ripley into a superb one-handed save to tip the ball over the crossbar.

Athletic had two chances before the break to open the scoring with Banks rifling an effort from 30 yards wide, whilst a minute later, Osei forced the goalkeeper into a near post save after good work from Ladapo.

Latics continued to work hard in the second half and were much the better side.

Good work from Osei saw him set up Ladapo on the edge of the box but the striker struck wide when in a good position.

All the pressure was with Latics and Robinson brought Winchester and Mckay into the action to add an injection of pace.

That move almost paid off as Osei’s cross on 68 minutes found the onrushing Winchester but somehow the goalkeeper made a world class save and managed to tip his six yard header wide of the post.

Fellow substitute Paul Green was the next to test the goalkeeper as his curling effort from 25 yards forced the Ben Alnwick into a diving save. 

Athletic continued to fight for a winner but had to be aware of the counter attack.

Port Vale’s Taylor lined up a free kick from 20 yards which forced Connor Ripley into a smart save at his far post.

However, the last five minutes belonged to Latics, they did everything but force the ball over the line.

Firstly Mckay won the ball in the penalty area, turned and fired through a sea of bodies but it hit the post and fell wide.

And just before the end of the game, Osei received the ball in space from Mckay’s knockdown but his shot was saved by a stubborn Alnwick.

Latics did everything but put the ball in back of the net and can be disappointed not to come away with the victory.

Oldham Athletic: Ripley, Wilson, Clarke, Burgess, McLaughlin, Fane, Banks (Green 65’), Croft, Flynn (Winchester 62’), Ladapo (Mckay 62’), Osei.

Subs not used: Kettings, Edmundson, Law, Dummigan.

Port Vale: Alnwick, Purkiss, Streete, Knops, Kelly (Kiko 66’), Cicilia, Thomas, Smith, De Freitas (Mbamba 71’), Taylor, Grant.

Subs not used: Santos, Amoros, Pereira, Hart, Turner.

Goals: Oldham Athletic 0-0 Port Vale

Attendance: 3,451 (435 visiting supporters)

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