“Alright, this is the plan. We get in there and get wrecked, then we’ll eat a pork pie. Then we’ll drop a couple of Surmontil-50’s each. That means we’ll miss out Monday but come up smiling Tuesday morning.”
Now, first thing’s first – when it comes to drugs, just say no. Drugs are bad, mmmkay? OK – the public service announcement over, and we now can bang on with the matter at hand. This weekend, it is to the Staffordshire riviera that we are to make haste. With the nights closing in, the FA Cup comes round once again. It is Port Vale who await, with Stevenage FC looking for its first away win in the competition since January 2014. That came against Doncaster Rovers, who were of a higher league then. We’ll have to repeat the trick once again.
Unlike Donny did back then, however, Port Vale don’t look as if they’re about to drop down a division any time soon. In fact, the Valiants are as comfortable in mid table as you could want. Our hosts are 11th in the League One standings and are, numerically at least, one win from a spot in the playoffs. It doesn’t mean all that much at this stage of the season, obviously. But it sure beats sitting 16th in League Two and one defeat from being in the bottom two. We guess it comes down to perspective at the end of the day. We know which we prefer.
Port Vale v Stevenage: Tactical Necessity…
As we gear up for the unrivalled life experience that is a jaunt to the Potteries, we can’t help but feel a sense of unease. That’s because there are too many things lining up in our favour. If we mention ’em all in one breath and very, very quietly, then maybe the football gods won’t be paying attention. So, kwyjibo! Sadly, we’re going to have to elaborate if you’re going to have any idea what we’re getting at. The first of those things, therefore, is our good stead on the road. It might only be three games, but you’re only as good as your last away day.
The second is the equal and opposite poor home form of Port Vale, who are without a win at Vale Park in three games. Mind you, stick three more on that tally and they have the 5th best recent home form in League One. Stats, eh? And so onto factor number three: our unbeaten record at their gaff. Yep, yep – in three trips up, we came back with a victory and two draws. One of those draws, of course, courtesy of Charlton Griffin’s last-gasp leveller in the 2009/10 FA Cup. Of course, taking them back for the replay didn’t exactly work out for us then.
So, whaddya reckon. Are the planets aligning in our favour or merely getting our hopes up. Do you want to see our ball in the hat for the second round draw, or is Tuesday’s Checkadoodahdingdong higher in your esteem? The bookies are unsurprising in their view that Port Vale are favourites, but not all odds-on. For us, the draw looks a tasty prospect – around 13/5 in most places. But, being the paupers that we are, we need our money for the finest wines available to humanity. After all, this weekend is about Port Vale and I. Or us. Or whatever.
Port Vale v Stevenage: FIFA 17 Verdict
Fakinel. The stuff of miracles, this was. Now, it seems that being able to upload videos just ain’t something that FIFA 17 is letting us do. So, we’ll let this screenshot do the talking. As you can see, twice we went behind. And twice we rallied back. Henry Cowans’ pinger from 20 yards causing us to be particularly smug, until some fine interplay between Charlie Lee and Jack King bettered it. And then god of gods, light of light! Who should pop up five yards out in stoppage time to score the winner? Ron effing Henry? We need to lie down.
BoroGuide’s Port Vale club profile – almost like the finest wines available to humanity. Almost.