Saturday, 27 February 2016

My Thirty-First 15/16 Game - Port Vale vs Coventry City

 Going to Upton Park to see West Ham play is all well and good but you have to remember where you came from, and typically, since I'd been to a neutral game in the middle, I had missed seeing the Sky Blues play. But this game was a biggie, we had lost our last 3, but some big talking points had happened between fixtures, mostly happening on transfer deadline day.

 Our defensive crisis needed quick fixing, and this was done, in the loan forms of Jack Stephens from Southampton and Baily Cargill from Bournemouth, positive signings, proven at this sort of level and anything is better than Peter Ramage. It turned 11pm and just as everyone was going to bed some horrible news came through, James Maddison had been sold to Norwich City for an undisclosed fee, but was loaned back until the end of the season.

 Firstly, yes I know he probably would have been offered a lot more money than he's currently on, but he is such an idiot. You are in a promotion race with your boyhood club, and instead of keeping all your focus on that and waiting 5 months to have a pick of either Liverpool, Arsenal or Manchester City, you abandon ship to a team that may be in the same league as the one you just left next season!

 Aside from reptile attacking midfielders, the line up was a lot different to previous games. Charles-Cook started the game in goal, Lorentzson, Cargill, Ricketts and Stokes made up the back four, playing just in front of them was Jack Stephens. Rose and Fleck were the holding midfielders, Murphy and Judas played just behind Adam Armstrong. One thing I forgot to mention was the free transfer signing of Darius Henderson, who started on the bench.

 Early on in the game, Charles-Cook recovered well from a fumbled cross to stop to hosts from going 1-0 up. Cook was the subject again when he made a great double save to once again deny Vale from taking the lead. For the entire half we were under the cosh, and apart from an Adam Armstrong break away and a shot which wasn't troubling anyone, we had done nothing. Lorentzson also went off injured to be replaced by Peter Ramage.

 Out of absolutely nowhere, some fancy footwork from Maddison, put Murphy through on goal to round the keeper and slot home, somehow, we were leading at half time despite having been battered all game. Just a few minutes in Vale had a chance and from 18 yards forced a good save to parry wide. Just after, in possibly the best piece of goalkeeping I have ever seen, Charles-Cook reacted amazingly from a deflected free kick to get a hand to the ball sending it wide, astonishing.

 In the dying embers of the game, just when we thought we'd be able to hold on, Sam Kelly hit a wonder strike from 25 yards which even Reice didn't manage to keep out. However the match wasn't over yet, deep into injury time, from a corner, substitute Darius Henderson rose like a salmon and the ball looked destined to smash the back of the net, but it was not to be, it was cleared of the line as the game finished 1-1.

 A perhaps not deserved point, but we really need to get back to winning ways, we havehe perfect opportunity to do so, facing a struggling Bury at home, which will be 'AView From The Stands' number 33.

My Man Of The Match - Reice Charles-Cook - That save alone should warrant him the award this week, but if it weren't for him, we would have definitely lost that game, I believe this is only his second award of the season.

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