Vale beware: five non-league cup upsets…

As Vale prepare to take on Maidenhead United in front of the TV cameras, here is a reminder of what can happen when Vale are not on top of their game.

The video shows the Enfield upset. Click play to watch it. The video is part of the OVF YouTube channel – here


January 1981: Enfield 3-0 Port Vale, FA Cup 3rd Round Replay

After two excellent wins over Bradford and Burnley, expectations were high as Vale were drawn against non-league Isthmian League outfit Enfield in the third round. They managed a 1-1 draw at Vale Park but lost the replay 2-0 in part due to some inept goalkeeping by loan keeper Steve Cherry. It’s still regarded by many older Vale fans as one of the club’s lowest moments.

November 2000: Port Vale 1-2 Canvey Island, FA Cup 1st Round Replay

There is a trend with Vale’s non-league upsets – they usually involve a replay. But the Canvey humiliation was more upsetting than usual on two fronts. Firstly, Vale were cruising 4-2 in the game at Canvey Island only to sloppily concede two late goals. Secondly, most fans thought a replay at Vale Park would suit the Valiants. However, Vale fared even worst in front of their Burslem supporters – losing 2-1 in arguably the club’s most abject performance in the FA Cup.

December 2003: Port Vale 0-1 Scarborough, FA Cup 2nd Round

Having scraped past Ford United in a replayed first-round clash, Vale drew another non-league side when they were pitched against Scarborough in the second round. Thanks to a baffling tactical decision by boss Brian Horton (putting 5 foot 5 inch Levi Reid at full-back to mark six foot three inch winger Ashley Sestanovich) it was no surprise that it was Sestanovich who scored to put Boro into the third round.

December 2007: Chasetown 1-0 Port Vale, FA Cup 2nd Round Replay

The noughties were a grim time for Vale’s cup fortunes. Hot on the heels of Canvey Island and Scarborough came a similar humiliation at non-league Chasetown. Vale were booed off after a 1-1 draw at Vale Park but things were about to get far worse… Luke Rodgers missed two penalties as the minnows won the replay 1-0. To rub salt into the wounds, manager Lee Sinnott then snapped up two of the Chasetown squad – Chris Slater and Kyle Perry – with both proving to be poor signings. Sinnott would only survive another ten months and this result played a major part in the decision to relieve him of his duties.

November 2011: Grimsby 1-0 Port Vale, FA Cup 1st Round Replay

Another non-league club, another replay, another cup exit. Grimsby may have been a League club recently but in 2011 they were distinctly struggling in the Conference. Vale could only manage a 0-0 draw in the first-leg and must have feared the omens when they forgot to pack their kit for the replay. Lining up in Grimsby’s red away kit, Vale lost to a 59th minute Serge Makefo winner.



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