‘Well done for bragging though that the worst team we’ve played this season won 1-0 on shots!’
- Tom Pope (December 2019)
Walsall entertain traditional foes Port Vale this weekend, with a bumper away crowd expected…
Vale are 6th in League Two and enjoying an excellent run of form. They currently sit seven places and 11 points ahead of the Saddlers, with a seasonal record of P34, W14, D12, L8, F46, A40, Pts54.
Unbeaten in five games, they have lost just twice in their last 10 matches, winning six. In recent fixtures they have put three goals past Exeter, Forest Green and Colchester. Vale’s away record is decent, winning 7 of 17 games on the road, though their only home defeat of the league campaign came against the Saddlers back in early December.
Tom Pope leads the Port Vale attacking charts with 10 goals and 2 assists, followed by Richie Bennett (6G, 3A), David Worral (5G, 10A), Mark Cullen (5G, 1A) and Jake Taylor (5G, 1A).
Recent League Form
Jan 28 Exeter (H) Won 3-1
Feb 01 Salford (H) Drew 1-1
Feb 08 Northampton (A) Won 0-1
Feb 11 Forest Green (A) Won 3-2
Feb 15 Colchester (H) Won 3-0
Vale last visited Bescot for a Mickey Mouse Cup game back on 13th November 2018. Scott Quigley opened the scoring for the visitors after just four minutes before Connor Johnson equalised shortly before the break. Johnson’s joy was short-lived; the youngster was sent off five minutes after half time and Danny Pugh’s 65th minute goal gave Vale a 2-1 win.
Played For Both
Zak Jules spent a brief loan spell at Vale Park in 2018, and would seem to be the only current link.
Club legend Colin Askey played 200 games for Vale between 1949 and 1958, scoring 21 goals from the right-wing position. He then joined Bill Moore’s Walsall, making 83 appearances for the Saddlers and winning the 1959-60 Fourth Division title before joining Mansfield in 1962.
His son, John Askey, is the current Vale Manager.
Kris Taylor, Hector Sam, Ryan McGivern, Flo Cuvelier, Ben Purkiss, Theo Vassell and Joe Slinn have all represented both sides in recentish times.
A special mention for Trinidadian midfielder Tony Rougier, who spent the 1999-2000 campaign at Vale. His horrific challenge on Gino Padula during a late season crunch match at Vale Park was one of the worst seen on a Walsall player and saw the Argentinian miss much of the relegation run-in.
Rougier would come good however, and went on to score a vital extra-time equaliser for the Saddlers in the following season’s Second Division Play-Off Final against Reading.
In a home derby game which promises to have a decent atmosphere, against a team who have far more to play for than ourselves, it would be nice for DC to choose a Walsall side based on playing to our strengths and winning the game rather than neutralising the opposition.
Play as we did in the first half against Northampton, and Vale will take the game beyond us. Play as we did in the second half and we can beat them.
I’ll go for a 1-1 draw. Vale ahead before the break before a late Adebayo goal sends the Staffordshire hordes home disappointed. Tom Pope to publish a goading Tweet at half time and hurriedly delete it at the final whistle.
- Walsall Win
- Vale Win