PREVIEW: Stevenage v Port Vale
Vale face another long away trip this weekend, probably feeling a little down after their recent mini revival came to a halt when they were beaten at home by promotion-seeking Accrington Stanley in midweek.
Perhaps Vale would prefer to be on their travels – after all, they haven’t managed to win aa game on home soil since goals from Nathan Smith and Chris Eagles were enough to see off AFC Wimbledon on 1st April.
If somebody had told you then that it would be over six months before the Vale faithful saw another home victory, you would have thought they were fooling around.
Vale’s next home game in League Two isn’t until 7th October when Grimsby Town are the visitors, so it will certainly be at least six months until Burslem is celebrating a home win.
Mind you, Vale haven’t fared much better away from home since winning at Crawley on the opening day of the season, when everybody was in an optimistic mood following Vale’s return to League Two.
Last weekend’s point from a 1-1 draw at Yeovil was the first point they had picked up on the road since that opening day, yet they could have quite easily have returned to Burslem with maximum points.
Vale won’t want to dwell on a goalkeeping mistake by Kelle Roos than effectively saw the Valiants drop two points and whoever is in charge will insist they start again with a clean slate.
Stevenage are handily placed in one of the play-off positions, just two points behind Accrington Stanley who are currently in third spot.
‘The Borough’ have lost just two of their opening ten league fixtures, losing 2-1 at home to Lincoln City earlier this month and then suffering a 3-2 defeat at Swindon a fortnight ago.
Their home win against Morecambe a week ago was their first in four game, having drawn 1-1 at home to Crawley Town in between those two defeats.
That Stevenage are far from invincible, despite their lofty league position, should give Vale some home, and if they perform like they did at Huish Park last weekend, surely they are in with a chance.
The big talking point at the time of writing is the appointment of a new Vale manager. Owner Norman Smurthwaite says he has three ‘exceptional’ candidates in the running. We await his decision with baited breath.
Dave Johnson 6TR