Last-gasp Ik­peazu is come­back de­stroyer

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By James Owens

GARY Cald­well warned his Wi­gan Ath­letic play­ers that they can­not con­tinue to give teams a head start on the road, as the Lat­ics latest fight back was can­celled out at Vale Park by Uche Ik­peazu’s 90thminute win­ner.

Cald­well’s men scored three times in the last ten min­utes to win at Ch­ester­field last week, but have now con­ceded at least twice in each of their four away fix­tures this sea­son.

Vale led 1-0 at half-time cour­tesy of a su­perb 25yard strike from midfielder An­thony Grant. Cald­well had wasted lit­tle time in re­spond­ing, aban­don­ing the Lat­ics’ start­ing 34-1-2 in favour of 4-4-2.

But de­spite Cald­well’s changes, the hosts re­mained in the as­cen­dancy and ex­tended their lead when Louis Dodds smashed the ball home.

Vale’s sec­ond fi­nally roused the visi­tors, with Chris McCann con­vert­ing a Craig Davies pull-back to bring them back into the game.

Ben Purkiss could have re­stored the hosts’ twogoal lead when he ar­rived in the box 11 min­utes from time, only to fire ag­o­nis­ingly over the bar.

And Purkiss was soon to re­gret his near miss all the more as Leon Bar­nett headed home a Michael Ja­cobs cor­ner with seven min­utes to go.

But the cen­tre-back’s goalscor­ing hero­ics were cru­elly can­celled out with a minute left, as he brought down Enoch An­doh with the Vale winger bear­ing down on goal.

Ref­eree Mark Hay­wood was left with no choice but to give Bar­nett his march­ing or­ders, and Vale cap­i­talised ruth­lessly, with Wat­ford loa­nee Ik­peazu find­ing the back of the net from point­blank range mo­ments later.

“We can’t do it ev­ery week,” Cald­well re­flected.

“We can’t ex­pect to come back from two-nil down away from home and do mirac­u­lous things like we did last week at Ch­ester­field. It’s just not go­ing to hap­pen.

“We have to be braver from the start, we have to be bet­ter from the start, and we have to im­prove.

“It’s not good enough. I don’t think it’s de­fend­ing, at times we de­fended very well.We dealt with Ik­peazu and his phys­i­cal threat well.

“Pass­ing the ball was a prob­lem.”

But op­po­site num­ber Rob Page was thrilled.

“I’m re­ally pleased, be­cause I think there were a few that were ex­pect­ing us to crum­ble at the end and sort of roll over and let them take the three points,” Page said.

“We dug in, we had to, and, rightly so for me, we got the win­ner at the end.

“All we can worry about is giv­ing that level of per­for­mance who­ever we’re play­ing against, and hope­fully the fans agree.”

STAR MAN ANTHO

NY GRANT PortVale

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