JOHN Sheridan predicted that the fight for Football League survival would not hinge on winning or losing a relegation six-pointer with Stevenage.

A week on from beating their nearest rivals, against a side punching at the top end of the table, Oldham Athletic's head coach was proved right.

In the process of Latics twice coming back from behind through Christopher Missilou and Davis Keillor-Dunn to go in at half-time level with promotion chasing Port Vale, Stevenage had established a 1-0 lead at Colchester. They doubled it in the second half, and that’s how it finished as Stevenage registered their first win under Steve Evans and first since January.

Latics, meanwhile, had left themselves with another comeback mission. But despite a bold move in pushing Carl Piergianni from back to front - a tactic that had been successful in helping to secure a late win in the reverse fixture under Keith Curle's watch in November - it did not have the desired affect here.

Sheridan said afterwards he had paid no attention to anything happening in the other games, and it is right that Oldham have this approach. There is nothing they can do to influence Stevenage’s results so it is futile to waste any energy on that.

But that did not stop Latics fans from constantly refreshing the score updates on their phones and willing a Colchester comeback as much as they did a third equaliser for their own team.

Despite Piergianni proving a handful in his unfamiliar attacking role, after Kyle Jameson came off the bench for his first appearance since September after injury, it was not to be. On either count. And so Latics are back where they started just over a week ago, level on points with second bottom Stevenage - spared a place in the bottom two on goal difference, which has now shrunk from six to three - but there are fewer games remaining in which to win this battle, and Stevenage’s game in hand is looming.

But while Sheridan made a beeline for the referee after the final whistle to query some key decisions, notably two valid penalty appeals for fouls against Keillor-Dunn and substitute Jamie Hopcutt, while Port Vale could have had goalkeeper Aidan Stone sent off for handling outside the box and Ben Garrity for an awful challenge on Keillor-Dunn instead of bookings for both, he had few complaints about his side’s performance - one that he feels if mirrored will keep them on the right side of the line.

Having beaten Leyton Orient and Stevenage, it was always going to be a tough ask for Latics to make it three wins on the spin against a side with League One in their sights.

And they had defending to do from the off as Port Vale started strongly to turn early chances into a 10th minute opener.

Jamie Proctor seized on some defensive hesitation in the Latics box as Jordan’s Clarke’s charged-down clearance was deflected into his path, and he cleverly side-stepped Piergianni to bury the shot past Danny Rogers.

The equaliser six minutes later came from nowhere but was well executed as Christopher Missilou finished a move he started with a brave header.

The midfielder collected the ball midway inside the Vale half and sent it wide to Nicky Adams, whose cross was headed back from beyond the post by Hallam Hope and Missilou, who had continued his run, stooped to nod it past Stone.

Port Vale’s second was worryingly straightforward, with both substitute Ryan Edmundson’s right wing cross and Proctor’s side-footed finish going unchallenged.

But again Latics showed their character in fighting back.

Sam Hart was denied by the crossbar having taken the free kick that Stone conceded for handling outside the area. Infuriatingly Stone touched it onto the woodwork when it could be argued he should not have even been on the pitch.

Garrity could count himself fortunate to stay on too after his midfield lunge left Keillor-Dunn repeatedly punching the ground in pain.

Thankfully Latics’ top scorer recovered and went on to take his tally for the season to 15 in first half stoppage time.

From another free kick, Adams swung the ball to the far left post where Will Sutton nodded it down and Keillor-Dunn converted from close range to send the teams in level at the break.

But Port Vale we’re back in front within 10 minutes of the second half after a left wing cross was only half cleared and Brad Walker made a yard of space for himself to fire past Rogers from at least 25 yards.

Sheridan went on to throw caution to the wind and Piergianni up front to capitalise on his aerial presence. There were chances, but he will be as frustrated as anyone that he could not ask more questions of Stone.

Waved away penalty appeals when Keillor-Dunn was pulled down on the edge of the box as he prepared to pull the trigger, and last week’s match-winner Jamie Hopcutt being tripped in the box added to the frustration.

The result for Stevenage has added to the tension.

After the action had finished it was lights, camera, action for local band All the Young as they filmed a music video in the main stand.

The five-piece alternative rock band have been on the music scene for around a decade and their songs include Never Too Late and Another Miracle.

Latics have five games remaining for Sheridan to pull off another miracle at Boundary Park. No matter how close to the wire it goes, it’s never too late.