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Saturday 29th October 2011

League 2

OXFORD UNITED 2 (Duberry 11 Leven 64)

PORT VALE 1 (Richards 61)

Att 8,027 (839 away)

Entry S/T

Programme £3 (inc Oxford Mail)

Coffee £2.10

“12th Man” Badge £2

If this game doesn’t get still more people to come and watch Oxford United, then nothing will. A tip though, turn up early, as people were still queuing to get in as the game kicked off.

I have seldom seen a game so open, particularly in midfield helped by referee Mr Hayward, who despite some poor decisions, did at least try and let the game flow.

Oxford made just the one change from the Plymouth game, Whing replacing the suspended Batt at full-back, whilst Port Vale unsurprisingly kept faith with the quad that won 3-0 at Bristol Rovers.

You feel that any side that takes Oxford on, in a passing game has the potential to be torn to shreds, but it was something highly unusual for OUFC, a goal from a corner that opened the scoring, Michael Duberry heading home unopposed from Peter Leven’s corner.

It took Vale a full 32 minutes to create a chance, Doug Loft’s effort saved by Ryan Clarke, and soon after, Jake Wright’s double block from Marc Richards,was a defensive highlight of the half.

The second half was a little tighter, but United still created chances, Constable did well to pick out Leven at the back post, but the midfielder’s shot squeezed just wide of the near upright.

Of course, just the one goal is never enough, and Vale’s equaliser was the type of goal their hosts like to score. Wing-Back Adam Yates broke down the left and his cross found Richards at the back post and he tapped in at close range.

Parity did not last long. Leven picked up the ball just inside the Vale half, and with nothing obvious on, looked up, spotted that keeper Stuart Tomlinson was off his line, and lobbed him, from a mere 45 yards. A special goal from a special player.

And if you haven’t seen it….

But, to reiterate, 1 goal is never enough, and with less than 10 minutes to go, Duberry was adjudged to have hauled down Richards. Clarke guessed right to save the penalty superbly, but for those who wondered whether the decision was correct, consider that after the resulting corner was cleared, Duberry quietly went up to Clarke and thanked him. An admission of guilt? You decide.

Even then it wasn’t over, as Clarke came up with perhaps an even better save to keep out Ben Williamson’s shot.

Breathless stuff this, you just can’t beat the entertainment at Grenoble Road these days.