From our archives: Stevenage v Sir Stanley Matthews' Port Vale, 1967

WITH Stevenage Borough due to host Port Vale next Tuesday in an FA Cup First Round replay following their 1-1 draw at Vale Park on Saturday, we dug deep through our Stevenage News archives and found this match report from a previous Vale visit to Stevenag

WITH Stevenage Borough due to host Port Vale next Tuesday in an FA Cup First Round replay following their 1-1 draw at Vale Park on Saturday, we dug deep through our Stevenage News archives and found this match report from a previous Vale visit to Stevenage.

None other than Sir Stanley Matthews was in the Vale line-up when they played Stevenage Town back in 1967 and the report was written by Bob Bryant, aged then just 21, who is now a Comet reporter aged 64.

The report appeared on February 9, 1967.

Stevenage Town 4 Port Vale 3


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SIR Stanley Matthews made his eagerly anticipated appearance at Broadhall Way on Tuesday evening with the Port Vale side.

But in the end, he and his colleagues had to acknowledge defeat at the hands of a memorable Stevenage side.

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Just his presence brought a touch of magic into the chill night air and not once did his performance suggest a footballing veteran of 52.

But even he was overshadowed by Stevenage's only full international and former White Hart Lane idol Johnny Brooks, who is almost 20 years his junior.

Brooks not only scored a vital second half goal, but paved the way for Chandler to snatch a dramatic winner seven minutes from time.

His tactical planning with the ball played havoc with the Port Vale back division. At times it seemed as though he was recapturing his memorable Tottenham days of the mid-fifties.

Johnny was a doubtful starter owing to an injury to a thigh muscle contracted at Ashford on Saturday, but he showed no signs that his thigh was heavily strapped.

Chandler was another who tantalised the Port Vale rearguards. His bursts of speed could never be stemmed, and if his luck had been in he would have scored a first half hat-trick.

In only the sixth minute he found himself yards clear with just O'Neill barring his way but he pulled his shot yards wide.

Port Vale opened the scoring in the 16th minute. McKensie collected the ball near the Stevenage area and flighted it for centre-forward Georgeson to head into the far corner out of Peacock's reach.

Stevenage hit back knowing they should have been in front, but they had to wait until the 28th minute before they got on terms with a goal from Hugh Pratt.

Chandler and England made the running, and Pratt beat Walker to the ball before thumping it wide of the fallen O'Neill.

Pratt seemed to discount the threat of Sir Stanley and frequently moved up front to make an extra forward, almost hitting a second in the 35th minute but both his attempts were charged down by a ruffled Port Vale.

Vale regained their single goal advantage only seconds from the interval. McKensie again made the opening for right-half Lintern to pick his spot and fire home.

Stevenage came out for the second period more determined and again Brooks and Pratt, coupled with Chandler, had O'Neill in action early. Mills soon had the ball in the Vale net with a header, but it was cancelled out for pushing.

Between the 55th and 57th minutes the record crowd was treated to three goals - two from Stevenage and one from the visitors.

The spree started with Stevens grabbing a classic goal. Chandler cracked the Vale defence and Stevens chased through, holding off the challenge of centre-half James to crack the ball with precision into the roof of the net.

Brooks got in on the act less than a minute later. Picking up a loose ball he turned and rocketed a terrific drive past O'Neill's groping hands.

Stevenage's lead was very brief as Port Vale equalised a minute later, when Matthews sprung to life in order to present Georgeson with the simplest of goals.

With only Peacock to beat, the forward stabbed the ball well inside the near post.

Suspense then prevailed until Chandler popped up in the 87th minute with a goal he richly deserved and earned. Brooks caught O'Neill on the hop and the Vale 'keeper could only parry his volley for the onrushing Chandler to run the ball over the line.

There was time for the visitors to get on terms, but by now the Stevenage wall had closed for the last time and Mills, together with Freeman and Stevens, barricaded all the corridors to goal to make sure of retaining the Mowlem Cup - a prize that has graced the Broadhall Way trophy cupboard for the past three years.

Stevenage were worthy of their victory and proved that the gap between the Fourth Division and the Southern League is one which can easily be overcome if non-league clubs are given the chance.

STEVENAGE: Peacock, Robinson, Pratt, Stevens, Mills, Freeman, Powell, Walker, Chandler, Brooks, England.

PORT VALE: O'Neill, Richards, Broomhall, Lintern, James, Gibbons, Sir Stanley Matthews, Mudie, Georgeson, Chapman, McKensie.

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