March 2, 2013
Smalley stands tall as U's sink Vale
Oxford claimed their second big scalp in four days as Deane Smalley's late winner gave them a 2-1 victory over second-placed Port Vale at the Kassam Stadium.
The U's shocked table-topping Gillingham 1-0 at Priestfield Stadium midweek and went on to hand Vale a first defeat in eight away matches.
Chris Wilder's team took a 10th-minute lead when former Oxford captain Darren Purse blundered.
The veteran centre-half badly underhit a backpass to goalkeeper Chris Neal and Alfie Potter raced forward to coolly slot home.
But Vale were back on level just six minutes later. Captain Doug Loft, an influential figure in the centre of the park, struck a magnificent 25-yard drive beyond keeper Luke McCormick's outstretched right hand high into the net.
The hosts felt they deserved a penalty when Potter got a shoulder in the back from Ryan Burge, but the referee waved play on.
Burge was himself unlucky in the second half with a brilliant chip from 22 yards that McCormick just tipped onto the bar.
But in the 76th minute Vale failed to clear a corner and Smalley smashed a low angled shot under Neal's legs.
Sean Rigg had the chance to make it 3-1 five minutes from time after Burge tripped Liam Davis in the box, but Neal brilliantly saved his spot kick.
|Oxford United||Port Vale|
|24 Luke McCormick||1 Chris Neal|
|17 Tony Capaldi||6 Darren Purse|
|6 Jake Wright||24 Richard Duffy|
|4 Michael Raynes||5 John McCombe|
|2 Damian Batt||36 Daniel Jones|
|26 Liam Davis||7 Doug Loft|
|14 Sean Rigg||9 Jennison Myrie-Williams|
|7 Adam Chapman||23 Ryan Burge|
|25 Josh Parker||16 Calvin Andrew|
|10 Deane Smalley||11 Tom Pope|
|15 Alfie Potter||19 Ben Williamson|
|31 Max Crocombe||Adam Yates 2|
|5 Michael Duberry||Chris Shuker 15|
|16 Andrew Whing||Chris Birchall 26|
|23 Luke O'Brien||Sam Morsy 18|
|27 Scott Davies||Lee Hughes 29|
|9 James Constable||Louis Dodds 8|
|29 Tom Craddock||Ashley Vincent 10|
|Andrew Whing for Adam Chapman (45)||Louis Dodds for Ben Williamson (71)|
|James Constable for Josh Parker (67)||Lee Hughes for Calvin Andrew (71)|
|Scott Davies for Alfie Potter (90)||Sam Morsy for Ryan Burge (86)|
|Damian Batt (42)||Daniel Jones (54)|
|Josh Parker (54)||Jennison Myrie-Williams (81)|
|Tony Capaldi (90)||Doug Loft (85)|
|· Squads: Oxford United | Port Vale|