As the first round of the FA Cup descends on the nation this weekend, we here at Port Vale are feeling nostalgic.
As the world’s oldest cup competition begins its 2016/17 chapter, we take a look back at some of the more memorable first round games to involve the Valiants of recent times.
In at number five is Port Vale’s tie with Lincoln City, back in 1981. Remembered not for the amount of goals scored, an upset or a thrilling comeback, but for the fact that the contest consisted of three matches. Vale travelled to Sincil Bank Stadium to play out an initial nil-nil draw. Lincoln City then travelled to Burslem for a first round replay, which also ended in a draw, this time at 2-2.
It took a third and final fixture in the first round for a winner to ascend from the two teams. The tie was played at Vale Park once again, and it was Vale who rose victorious from the contest, with a 2-0 win, and into the second round the Valiants marched.
At fourth is a match that again, included a first round replay. This particular contest was against Stevenage FC back in 2009. Stevenage made the trip to Burslem for the tie, and went in at the break 1-0 down thanks to an Adam Yates strike. The game was hard fought from both sides, and Stevenage made their resolve pay as Charlie Griffin struck a 90th minute equaliser to break Valiant hearts and earn his side a replay.
As the replay came around 10-days later, Vale made the trip to Broadhall Way, and a solitary goal from Louis Dodds saw the Valiants fly on through to the next round.
In at third place involves another replay, this time against bitter rivals Stoke City, in 1992. A match that not only had the second round of the FA Cup at stake, but also bragging rights throughout the city. The first match between the two teams saw Vale make the short trip to the old Victoria Ground to play out a nil-nil draw.
Nine days later, Stoke made the same short trip to Vale Park only to be beaten 3-1 by the Valiants, with Martin Foyle scoring twice and Andy Porter scoring as well, meaning that Vale had earned the bragging rights over their rivals in a season that saw them fall to defeat to them twice in the league.
In second place is Port Vale’s most emphatic FA Cup first round win in 90 years. In 1994, Hartlepool United made the trip down to the Vale Park, only to be hit for six as Vale ran out comfortable winners in a 6-0 victory. The scorers on the day were Joe Allon, Gareth Griffiths, Dean Glover and Martin Foyle who grabbed himself a hat-trick.
And in top spot, is an enthralling 4-3 win away at Huddersfield Town in 2008. The Valiants made the trip to the Galpharm Stadium and made a good start after Louis Dodds put them ahead after 27 minutes. Vale’s domination did not continue, the home side grew into the game and were soon not only back in the game, but strolling on through to the second round after three goals in 20 minutes after the half-time break.
It would take a miracle for Vale to get back into the game, but David Howland’s goal got them up and running and the team began growing in belief. And it all paid off as Louis Dodds grabbed his second and Vale’s third of the game to get back on level terms with five minutes to play.
A replay looked likely. However, Marc Richards though differently as he popped up to complete the comeback and score Vale’s fourth on the stroke of full-time to complete a magical day in the FA Cup for Port Vale, sprinkling even more of that FA Cup magic for the world to admire.