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Match Reports

Port Vale 0-0 Latics

9 March 2021

© Eddie Garvey

Latics ground out a goalless draw in Keith Curle’s first game as Head Coach to take a point away from Vale Park.

In a match short of attacking quality, neither side was able to find a breakthrough, although the new boss was pleased with the resilience shown by his players as they earned a point for the second game running.

Having made three changes in personnel from the draw against Southend United on Saturday, Curle also introduced a new shape featuring three central defenders.

Only 48 hours after his appointment was confirmed, the Head Coach saw his side’s efforts rewarded with a clean sheet, although they had to fend off pressure at times to claim a share of the spoils.

While genuine chances were at a premium throughout, the home side had the better of first-half openings, the dangerous David Worrall providing a number of good crosses during the early exchanges.

The winger played a testing ball across goal which Kurtis Guthrie should have done better with, and Nathan Smith also connected with a cross but directed it straight at Ian Lawlor.

Guthrie then headed wide after another delivery from Worrall, who also flashed a shot across goal after cutting in from the right.

Chances for Latics were in short supply before the break but Conor McAleny had a shot blocked by Leon Legg having been released by Alfie McCalmont before checking inside.

And with half-time looming, Marcel Hilssner placed a 25-yard free-kick over the Port Vale bar.

The hosts again worked Lawlor after the break, as the goalkeeper saved from Guthrie before beating out a drive from Conlon.

Yet there was more attacking intent to Latics’ performance as the game went on, with McAleny denied by goalkeeper Scott Brown before Dylan Bahambola worked his way into space, only for his shot to be charged down by Conlon.

Latics’ best chance of nicking maximum points came in the closing stages when McCalmont advanced into space but his long-range driver was parried by Brown.

Curle’s side had to fend off late pressure but the fact they emerged with only their third clean sheet of the campaign was testament to a resolute showing.

Oldham Athletic: Lawlor, Piergianni, Keillor-Dunn, Ntambwe (Whelan 60), McAleny, Badan, Hilssner (Fage 51), Diarra (Jombati 70), Adams, Bahamboula, McCalmont.

Subs not used: Tasdemir, Sutton, Bilboe, Vaughan.

Port Vale: Brown, Crookes, Joyce, Legge, Smith, Worrall, Conlon, Guthrie (Robinson74), Mills, Rodney (Amoo 46), Swann (Hurst 90).

Subs not used: Oyeleke, Taylor, Scott, Olagunji.

Referee: Kevin Johnson (replaced by Anthony Moore on 34 mins)


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