Town were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to Port Vale as Ryan Edmundson’s header with twenty minutes remaining earned the visitors a point at The Envirovent Stadium.
Alex Pattison’s ninth league goal of the season on 23 minutes had put Town ahead and a spell of sustained pressure early in the second half saw Town almost double their lead but they had to be content with a share of the spoils and are still searching for a first win against Vale.
Town made one change to the side that earned a point courtesy of the goalless draw at Barrow on Saturday, with Pattison returning to the starting line-up. Ryan Fallowfield dropped down to the bench.
Port Vale made two changes with Joel Cooper and Chris Hussey coming into the starting line-up for David Worrall and Jamie Proctor as they looked to extend their eight match unbeaten run.
The Valiants started the brighter of the two sides with the dangerous Ben Garrity powering a header narrowly over the bar after five minutes. It was a moment of concern for Mark Oxley and co. and notice of their intent to continue their charge on the playoff positions.
Oxford-loanee Cooper then created himself some space to beat Nathan Sheron down the Town left, his cutback finding Hussey who let fly with an effort that Warren Burrell did well to deflect behind for a corner.
On twenty minutes Armstrong broke down the right hand side but with Muldoon advancing to the near post he couldn’t quite find the pass to play in his fellow strike partner.
It was not long until Town had the lead though. Muldoon played a neat one-two with Diamond, who accelerated towards the Vale defence before returning the ball to Muldoon, who in turn fed Pattison to fire hard and low past Tomas Holy.
Despite the pressure posed by a direct Vale side Town were largely holding firm. The visitors had an opportunity just after the half-hour mark though when Cooper was adjudged to have been fouled by Josh Falkingham.
Hussey stepped up and his right-footed effort forced a smart save from Oxley.
Diamond responded for Town by stealing possession and breaking forward, but he failed to get the ball truly under control and he dragged his shot comfortably wide.
After netting his first Town goal a week ago Lewis Page then tried his luck from distance from fully forty yards out which wasn’t too far over Holy’s crossbar.
Vale made one change at the half, introducing Aaron Martin for Brad Walker.
Town were resolute in defence over the first forty-five minutes and Sheron continued this shortly after the break when he was at full stretch to block an effort from Cooper, who was again at the centre of Vale’s attacking play.
Weaver opted to make an early change with skipper Falkingham withdrawn for Fallowfield, a move that saw George Thomson move into midfield.
And Fallowfield was soon in the thick of things when he threw his body in the way of an effort from Tom Pett, before Cooper hit the rebound out of the ground.
A short spell of Town pressure then resulted in an effort from Pattison testing Holy before Diamond outpaced Nathan Smith and fired narrowly wide.
Muldoon then forced Holy into a near post save as Town turned up the pressure in search of a second to give them some breathing space.
Vale had the ball in the net on 65 minutes when Ryan Edmundson headed past Oxley. The effort was correctly ruled out though for a push on the Town defence.
The visitors then made a double change when Harry Charsley and David Worrall for Hussey and Pett which brought immediate dividends when Edmundson’s header past Oxley levelled matters.
Town made a double change themselves soon after when Mark Beck and Brahima Diarra replaced Armstrong and Muldoon.
Substitute Charsley then went into the book for a cynical block on Diamond as the clock ticked down to show ten minutes left.
James Wilson then struck the bar in the final seconds but the whistle signalled a point apiece and left both sides wondering what might have been.
TOWN: Oxley, Thomson, Sheron, Smith, Burrell, Page, Falkingham (Fallowfield, 50), Pattison, Diamond,
Muldoon (Diarra, 73), Armstrong (Beck, 70).
Subs not used: Cracknell, Kavanagh, Diarra, Richards.
Booked: Page (12)
Goals: Pattison (23)
Port Vale: Holy, Gibbons, Walker (Martin, 45), Hall, Smith, Garrity, Wilson, Hussey (Worrall, 67), Pett (Charsley, 67), Edmundson, Cooper.
Subs not used: Hurst, Martin, Amoo, Harratt, Stone.
Booked: Charsley (80)
Goals: Edmundson (68)
Referee: Darren Bond.