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The independent Stevenage FC blog

You’ve Got Vale…

Our luck ain’t got much better since coming back from Wales. What should have been a regulation win on our return indoors all came apart in the time it takes us to squeeze ourselves onto the East Terrace after our last gasp power shandy has us scampering for the loo. The card tricks of Craig Hicks put us right on the back foot and Crewe, only 48 short minutes later, found that having an extra man on the pitch does have its upsides.

Now, it is time for us to get the second best crockery and glassware out. No – not the Royal Doulton with the hand-painted periwinkles. The second best team to ever have come from Stoke-on-Trent are the latest house guests to Chez Lamex. And we also think they’re the only club to share a name with a Hertford thoroughfare. How about that? And you say the Football League doesn’t treat us. You can’t ask for more when it’s Port Vale.

Oh, wait. Sorry. We’ve heard that you can ask for more…

 

Stevenage v Port Vale: Bits and Pieces

The Referee

P10 WDLF17 A11; last result: Stevenage 2-2 Tranmere Rovers, 04/08/2018

The less said about the weekend’s lesson from The Trevor Kettle Guide To Refereeing the better. So, the only way we can be sure of a better officiating performance is if a traffic cone is down to take charge of this game. It’s not, but we may have the next best thing in Charles Breakspear. We say this purely on the basis that we’ve only lost once when he’s been involved; a 6-2 home defeat to Oxford in last year’s Checkatrade Trophy.

And we all know that results in that competition don’t count for much. Right?

Given our most recent cause to take issue with a referee, however, there is an elephant in the room. Or on the pitch. Or however you want to work the analogy. Mr Breakspear, you see, has a thing for red cards this season. Like, can’t get enough of them. Eight have been dished out, so he’s working at one every two games. And that includes our own John Hunt, who saw red against Tranmere in the first game of term.

 

The Opposition

PWDLF12 A9; last result: Port Vale 2-2 Stevenage, 17/03/2018

If you’d have asked us before we looked it up, we’d have been made up that someone had spoken to us. That, and we’d have been convinced Port Vale had beaten us more times than they actually had. And, yet, they ain’t managed more than twice. Both times were in the FA Cup, which means we’re unbeaten in the league against them. Which is nice. And which is now quite probably hexed. So, you’re welcome and that.

 

The Form

The form guide is about as reliable an indicator as reading your half time tea leaves. Vale aren’t breaking any records so far this term; 16th in the table with a fairly mediocre record of both scoring goals and keeping ’em out. Like Crewe at the weekend, they are far more likely to score at home; 10 of their 14 goals coming at Vale Park. Like us, meanwhile, they’re also struggling to get on the scoresheet early doors with none in the first 15.

Don’t go expecting a goal fest either. Port Vale tend to be involved in low-scorers; only one of their away days so far this season producing more than 2.5 goals in total. That said, why live by what the form guide suggests? If that was the case, Crewe would still be looking for three points on the road. So who’s not to say we channel our irritation from the weekend and go out and smash four past Vale? Your guess is almost as good as ours…

 

• MORE ABOUT ‘EM: Port Vale club profile

 

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