Monday, 27 January 2014

Port Vale 1-3 Albion, FA Cup 4th Round, January 25 2014

The magic of the cup, then – or, in our case, the miracle of a run not yet impeded by an impossible kick-off time at the behest of our broadcasting overlords.

The sky went black, hailstones hammered down and Brez was named in goal but, on paper, even on a pitch cutting up worse than Edward Scissorhands at a teenage emo papier-mâché club, we were favourites. Sure enough, Rohan Ince – who will surely be playing alone in midfield soon, purely to prove a point to the still-AWOL Bridders – put us ahead from what The Argus neatly called a “flag kick”.

The other two goals also came from flag kicks: they equalised just after the monsoon (the weather, not a ‎reference to Jon Obika being a damp squib with The Cyclone on the bench), and then Solly March scored from one of those overhit crosses you immediately claim as a curled stroke of genius on a Sunday league pitch once in a while.

Kemy hit the post and, in the improved conditions, we kept the ball at will in the second half. Obika’s goal was a surprise given that he’d bungled a one-on-one and generally resembled the sort of striker someone like Spurs would routinely describe as needing experience, but he took it round the Vale keeper and, as time fell still for those of us behind the goal conditioned to feel despair when anyone except Zamora or Big Leo goes through in the same sort of scenario, sent us on our merry way.

He seemed quite pleased, although love was already in the air at this point thanks to a succession of chants for Micky – “Micky’s a Seagull”, “one Micky Adams” etc – which our former beloved responded to in kind (he’s also a legend to their fans, we were assured in just about the only pub in Burslem welcoming away fans afterwards – there’s definitely been a happier ending than a Little Chef with Dick Knight’s proverbial shotgun for MA).

Man of the Match, as Micky insinuated, was probably Upson, who exuded a gazelle-like grace alongside the rarely-spotted Dunk, who played well, Calde and Chicksen, whose pace caught the eye in the way it probably won’t against teams in the league.

Still, we’ll need all these players by the end of the transfer window flog-off (plus Crofts’ combustion), and Oscar and Jones stomped on looking highly satisfied, which is more than can be said for the poor sod who took a thump to the cheek on the way back through Burslem despite not wearing colours.

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