Tag Archives: #2015

Remembering TAYLOR v DAVIS the Black Ball Final

Thirty years ago at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, Dennis Taylor faced Steve Davis in the World Snooker Championship Final. My custom at the time was to enjoy dipping into the action occasionally during the tournament, whilst eagerly awaiting the final which I would watch and savour. The 1985 finale proved to be an amazing spectacle and provided one of THE sporting moments of the century. But there were two other reasons why this final was so special to me.

I remember the weekend so vividly because the snooker final straddled the start of my O’levels at high school. My first ever national exam had been on the Friday, when I sat Arithmetic and my next one was English, which was scheduled for all day Monday. So although the weekend TV family viewing was sorted (and the telly took precedence in our house) I tried to keep an eye on the sport AND review my study notes and literature texts to be examined. I recall Steve Davis taking an 8-0 lead before Dennis Taylor clawed his way back to 7-9 going into the next day. On the Sunday, Taylor repeatedly came from behind to level the scores at 11-11, 15-15 and then 17-17. This was the backdrop as I made my final study preparations surrounded by tomes of good English literature. I recall that the style of the exam paper meant that you couldn’t discard any of the literature genres studied. My novel was Animal Farm by George Orwell, the play was Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the two poems I had decided to analyse were Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen and Robert Burn’s To A Mouse. There were short stories in the mix as well, but I don’t recall which ones they were. Added to that was ensuring my grasp of the grammatical rules and regulations of English was in order, and wondering what essay topics might turn up on the paper. Obviously in my own little world, the sporting greatness that unfolded that weekend was shrouded in the realms of great literature quotes. Certainly Dennis Taylor on potting the final black at his third attempt to become world champion was no “cow’rin tim’rous beastie”!

The game went into the small hours of the Monday morning and lasted 14 hours 50 minutes, the longest ever recorded for a 35 frame match. An estimated 18.5 million TV audience (including me bleary eyed but enthralled) watched the incredible final frame go down to the wire. Steve Davis had an 18 point advantage with 22 points still remaining on the table and Dennis Taylor then potted the brown, blue and pink balls. That final black became the decider and each man missed the pot twice before Dennis Taylor sealed victory to win his first World Championship. Who can forget the wee stocky Northern Irishman with the upside-down looking specs holding aloft his cue, dancing a wee jig and wagging his finger?

Taylor won against the odds in the most extraordinary fashion and yet I was the only one who wasn’t surprised. You see once in a while I get a gut-feeling about something and it won’t go away. In the February I had spotted a list of snooker players and the name Dennis Taylor leapt out at me. I said to my Dad he would win the World Championship and he laughed at me on seeing the odds of 150-1. By March my feeling had not diminished, in fact it had crystallised into something more and I predicted the “last ball in the last frame” scenario. My Dad laughed even more at this and said “that just proves that YOU (a mere lassie) know nothing about betting, sport or snooker”. When Taylor won I punched the air in delight and squealed “I TOLD YOU THAT WOULD HAPPEN”. I looked over at my Mammy who sat open mouthed in shock and my Dad had gone a funny puce colour and looked absolutely sickened. As I scooped my books up and said I was off to bed, my Dad put his head in his hands and mumbled something as he shook in disbelief. I think he might have been crying!

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Off The Beaten Track 5: FA Carlsberg Trophy Final 2015

On Sunday March 29th at 1330 North Ferriby United faced Wrexham on the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium to contest the FA Carlsberg Trophy final. Both teams started brightly but Wrexham quickly imposed their league supremacy, when Louis Moult opened the score line in the eleventh minute. From what I could ascertain from the BBC Radio Wales commentary, Wrexham remained dominant at least until half time with the score remaining at 0-1. The game appeared to be beyond North Ferriby’s reach when Jay Harris scored on 59 minutes, or at least that was the impression given by the Radio Wales commentary team who implied Wrexham were in “cruise control”. However, that did not take into account the heart and guts displayed by the “little men” from the East Ridings of Yorkshire.

The critical point of the game seems to have been the 72nd minute substitution of Dean Keates the Wrexham captain, when my audio feed began to describe the Welsh side as disappearing! North Ferriby Utd also seemed to have altered their formation to 4-4-2 compared to Wrexham’s 4-3-3. Suddenly the two front men for North Ferriby were causing trouble and Wrexham were struggling without a natural sitting midfielder, as all three on the pitch were inclined to go forward. Under this resurgence North Ferriby forced Wrexham’s keeper Coughlin to concede a penalty and captain Liam King slotted home to bring his team back into the game. It was now 1-2 with 76 minutes on the clock. With new found confidence North Ferriby (known as The Villagers) put increasing pressure on their opponents and were rewarded, when substitute Ryan Kendall scored to equalise four minutes from time. At 90 minutes the score was 2-2 with four added minutes on the clock. North Ferriby still pressing hard could have pulled off another goal to seal victory before regulation time was called, when Clarke’s last gasp effort produced a fantastic over the bar save from Coughlin. This ended a catastrophic fifteen minute period for Wrexham where they failed to peg back their opponents. At the 90+ minute boos rang out from the Wrexham fans end of the stadium.

EXTRA TIME

I wondered if the better fitness of the Wrexham team (known as The Dragons) would play a part in extra time, especially with the Welshmen having fresher players on the pitch. And although The Villagers appeared to be dead on their feet they kept running none the less. Wrexham’s right-back Steve Tomassen had no real support from the second half onwards, and endured a particularly torrid time from the pace of Jason St Juste. It was from this area that St Juste supplied the cross into the box for Kendall to head in North Ferriby’s third goal. A bit of a fluke with the ball having taken a wicked deflection, but a downward glancing header from Kendall ensured Coughlin picked the ball out of The Dragons net. For the first time North Ferriby were in the lead at 3-2 on 101 minutes. Just before the first fifteen minutes were indicated, Wrexham’s Manny Smith just missed connecting with a toe poke to equalise. Despite coming agonisingly close to scoring Wrexham fans once again indicated their displeasure at the team.

During the second period North Ferriby heroically soaked up the pressure from Wrexham who had all their team in the opposition half for much of the time, with as many as seven players in the box at one point. The Villagers Nathan Peat cleared off the line and Danny Hone put in a brave sliding tackle just before Wrexham’s Bishop pulled the trigger. It was inevitable though that this Welsh onslaught could not be repelled forever. On 118 minutes a vicious half volley from Louis Moult gave Wrexham an equaliser to make the game at 3-3 after 120+ minutes.

PENALTIES

Here is a breakdown of how the penalty shootout panned out with each team having to take SEVEN penalties to find the winner. Which keeper would turn out to be the hero of the hour Wrexham’s Andy Coughlin or North Ferriby’s Adam Nicklin?

North Ferriby went first.                                 Wrexham went second

Liam King SCORED 1-0                                    Wes York SCORED 1-1

Nathan Jarman SCORED 2-1                        Andy Bishop SCORED 2-2

Ryan Kendall SCORED 3-2                             Conor Jennings SAVED 3-2

Jason St Juste SAVED 3-2                               Neil Ashton SAVED 3-2

Tom Denton SAVED 3-2                                   Louis Moult SCORED 3-3

Matt Wilson SCORED 4-3                              Blaine Hudson SCORED 4-4

Nathan Peat SCORED 5-4                              Steve Tomassen SAVED 5-4

FA TROPHY WINNER North Ferriby United: 0-1 ht; 2-2 ft; 3-3 aet; 5-4 pens.

Going into this match North Ferriby were in ninth position in the Conference North Division and Wrexham fifteenth in the Conference Premiership Division. Never before until now had a Conference North side beaten a Conference Premier one. North Ferriby certainly punched way above their weight but deservedly won the trophy. It was Wrexham’s accolade for the taking but they inexplicably conceded their advantage.

North Ferriby is a community in the Kingston-upon-Hull area with a population of just under 4000. No doubt many of them were in the 14585 crowd at Wembley where they witnessed a dream come true. I’m sure Jason St Juste was happy to live the dream and receive a winner’s medal, having given up the opportunity of representing St Kitts & Nevis in an international qualifier against Turks and Caicos Islands, to appear at Wembley.

I heard all the action unfold using a battery operated analogue AM radio because I was out of range for the Welsh DAB radio service, and I had no reception for my phone so was unable to use the BBC Radio player app. Thank goodness for old technology, as it was certainly an unforgettable experience listening to the commentary as The Villagers won the FA Carlsberg Trophy. Well done lads and many congratulations on your wonderful achievement.

UK CAMPAIGN COUNTDOWN 2015 DEBATES

On Saturday 21st March 2015 British broadcasting announced the final template for the UK political debates, which are taking place before the General Election on May 7th.  Weeks of wrangling finally seem to be over, and it would appear that both the political and broadcasting groups INVOLVED are by and large pleased with the outcome.

In 2010 the UK held their first ever election debates with the three main national party leaders taking part in three discussions. I’ve seen the viewing audience figures for these described as 22 million, but I’m unsure if this is an average number, the largest number for a particular evening, or a cumulative one.  Anyway the project was deemed a great success and the process considered from that point onward, as an integral part of the general election campaigns. Undoubtedly the biggest winner in 2010 was Liberal leader Nick Clegg the least known debating member, compared to Conservative David Cameron and the then Labour leader Gordon Brown. The Liberals could promise many things in their manifesto without the concern of having any real chance of winning power and having to make good on them. In the 2010 election the Liberals did better in the polls than usual, which gave Nick Clegg the leverage needed to broker a deal to form a coalition with David Cameron and the Conservatives. However, that coalition deal I feel has caused the Liberal party irreparable damage as their promises have shone less brightly working in the shadow of Conservative dominance.

Initially for 2015 the broadcasters tabled the proposal of three debates (all held in April), two of them with multi-party participation and one a head-to-head debate between Labour’s Ed Miliband and Conservative’s David Cameron. These two men are the ONLY ones with the party power and public support behind them to take the keys to No.10 Downing Street in May. Unlike Ed Miliband who declared he would debate anyone, anywhere at any time, the Prime Minister David Cameron began making demands to change the debate format. He would only take part if the Green (!) party were included, then he would not go head-to-head with Labour and finally he would only take part in one multi-party debate. Initially the broadcasters held out against these demands even suggesting the preposterous notion of an empty chair, or that an un-elected media minion could stand in for the Prime Minister instead. Finally though the media capitulated and reformatted the debate platforms to accommodate the Conservatives stipulations. So what are we left with?

On Thursday March 26th just five days after the debate deal was brokered, a question and answer session will be broadcast by Channel 4 and Sky News. This will feature David Cameron (Conservative) and Ed Miliband (Labour) SEPARATELY talking to a studio audience. On April 2nd ITV will broadcast a seven party debate where ALL invited representatives will be present, including the Prime Minister. Taking part will be David Cameron (Conservative); Ed Miliband (Labour); Nick Clegg (Liberal); Nigel Farage (UKIP); Nicola Sturgeon (SNP-Scotland); Natalie Bennett (Green); Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru-Wales).  The BBC will host a five party opposition debate on April 16th (excluding coalition partners Cameron and Clegg) and a special Question Time discussion on April 30th. The final programme will feature the Labour, Liberal and Conservative leaders, with the BBC reassuringly stating that other interested parties will have a presence of some kind to ensure fairness. I admit I found the “reassurance” statement utterly laughable to say the least.

Broadcasters should have had the debate format ironed out months ago and the whole negotiation process regarding the issue, has taken focus away from the actual election campaign “sucking the life out of it” to quote David Cameron. He has said in the past that these debates are essential to the political process in the UK, yet as Prime Minister has done nothing to ensure the smooth running of it. In fact his actions have only hindered the negotiations protracting them out far longer than was necessary.  And the final debate format is a smorgasbord of discussions that strike me as being a shambolic farce for democracy. I say shambolic because the whole negotiating process has been a bit of a nightmarish joke where the idea of seven leaders trying to talk over each other makes me think of “squabbling simpering school kids”.  Also, when one major group has been deliberately excluded from the debating forum it makes a mockery of the word democracy.

My British passport declares me a citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Yet NOWHERE are the Northern Irish people represented in these debates, although their leaders have appealed to the BBC Trust against their exclusion to no avail. My initial research on the internet seems to suggest that David Cameron was initially keen that the DUP the biggest party in Northern Ireland be included. If this was the case however, the Prime Minister has had a distinct lapse of memory in recent weeks. It was the Green party he fought for inclusion in the end. The DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson heads eight MPs in the House of Commons the FOURTH biggest party representation in parliament. The Northern Irish contingent has more MPs than four of the parties invited to the debates. So WHY the hell is Northern Ireland being excluded I wonder?

It appears the BBC Trust has argued that the candidates in Northern Ireland elections do not have party representation in the remainder of the UK, and so should be excluded! Having never seen a Northern Ireland ballot paper I cannot comment on that, but if you can presume that the NI parties are vaguely aligned with the three mainstream UK party principles (left, centre, right for simplicity), then that argument is invalid. When you consider the SNP are only on Scottish ballots and Plaid Cymru on Welsh ballots the BBC Trusts stance becomes implausible. I can only think that there lurks a remnant of the old animosity toward Northern Ireland that stemmed from the troubles.

I’m disappointed that the leaders of the SNP and Plaid Cymru have not stuck up for their smaller national counterpart. I shake my head in disbelief when I hear “the British people want and need these debates” knowing that a small but significant cohort of my fellow British citizens are being DELIBERATELY EXCLUDED from the process. Considering the people of that region have far stronger feelings toward the Union flag (for and against) than many other parts of the UK, I find it shocking how easily Northern Ireland has been ignored for the election debates, and feel a lone voice in the wilderness.

A few short months ago I expressed the earnest hope that Scotland would not vote for independence but remain within the UK. I said “all for one and one for all”, yet this whole debate debacle has shown me that perhaps we are not as unified a democracy as people would like to think. It appears the Prime Minister can pull rank and manipulate the broadcasting media when it suits him. The media seem to have an underlying political agenda of their own despite the fact they are supposed to be neutral. And all those involved have colluded to exclude the Northern Ireland voice that has just as much right to be heard. Democracy…I think not, shame on you.

Happy New Year China: Year of the Sheep 2015

On February 19th 2015 the Chinese celebrate their New Year and herald in the Year of the Sheep. In honour of this event I had a celebratory playlist for my latest hospital radio show, where all the ruling animals for the 12 lunar years were represented, either as a song or group. The order of play was determined by the animal signs position in the Chinese Zodiac (Rat-1 to Pig 12). The result was an eclectic mix of songs ranging from classic to children’s music that I hoped was unusual enough to keep patients interested and listening.

ANGIES ALLSORTS SHOW 156 RADIO LEIGHTON 18TH FEBRUARY 2015

7.30-8.35pm: Duration 1 hr 5m 37s

Playlist

  1. BOOMTOWN RATS with I DON’T LIKE MONDAYS
  2.  MICHAEL JACKSON with BEN (Rat)
  3. BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS with BUFFALO SOLDIER (also described as Cow and Ox)
  4.  ABBA with TIGER

Rarity Record of the Week: 5. DEE JAY & THE RUNAWAYS with PETER RABBIT (famous rabbit)

  1. CLINTON FORD with PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON (famous dragon)
  2. WHITESNAKE with IS THIS THE LOVE
  3. ROY RODGERS with A COWBOY NEEDS A HORSE
  4. SOUND OF MUSIC CAST with THE LONELY GOATHERD (also described as Ram and Sheep)
  5. NOEL RAWSTHORNE with (Bach’s) SHEEP MAY SAFELY GRAZE
  6. THEME TUNE to THE MONKEES (Monkey)
  7. THE ROLLING STONES with LITTLE RED ROOSTER
  8. THREE DOG NIGHT with MAMA TOLD ME NOT TO COME
  9.  PINKY & PERKY (singing PIGS) with WHO’S AFRAID OF THE BIG BAD WOLF (famous pig story)
  10. SAINT SAEN (excerpt) ORGAN SYMPHONY No 3 C MINOR opus 78 4th movement Maestoso (PIG) used in the film Babe.

You can stream my show and listen from here: https://soundcloud.com/angies_allsorts/happy-chinese-new-year-2015

The Trials of a Beginner Blogger-a Year On

One year on from starting my personal blog here are my thoughts on some of the challenges I’ve faced so far.

Getting Started

My husband set up my account on WordPress as he was familiar with the site himself, but mainly because I wouldn’t have had a clue where to start. Rob works with computers everyday and is “connected” continuously to the internet and social media. I, on the other hand, use my laptop for projects when I need to and treat social media with a cool detachment. So my use of computers and the internet is a bit sporadic and I would say I’m not particularly at ease navigating the web.

Connectivity

Graduating to using a smart phone a few years ago allowed me to access social media apps, and I particularly enjoy using Twitter. I mainly rely on my mobile phone for internet searches and updating the social media sites I use. Therefore, mobile network connectivity is a BIG issue for me and we live in an area that seems to be on the periphery of several networks coverage. So none of them provide a particularly great signal and the problem is compounded by living in a flat and the “Faraday’s Cage effect” kicking in. A silent mobile phone at home can suddenly ping into life with alerts the minute I leave the front door! Living in a country-esque university campus also means that any broadband internet services would not provide the speeds advertised, because the infrastructure was not in place around the area. Fibre-optic cables have been laid down in recent weeks however, but we won’t be installing the internet any time soon. My husband’s office is only a couple of minutes away from home and his mobile keeps him connected away from work. It’s a conscious decision to have a broadband free household, in the attempt to provide some form of work-life balance for Rob. I therefore depend on free Wi-Fi in public places and a small gadget at home, which latches onto a mobile signal to provide your own “temporary” Wi-Fi hotspot. The network we use for this is a different one to our mobile provider, as it seems to be better at latching onto a signal. My concern for the future is that the two networks are potentially merging in a take-over deal and I think the coverage will get worse rather than better as a result!

Technical Issues

Ideas on what to write are not a problem for me; it’s the technical execution of the task that is the challenge. As well as the connectivity issues raised, the phraseology of blogging can seem like a foreign language to the uninitiated. Instructional magazines for the beginner blogger discuss “widgets”, plug-ins”, “hyper-links”, “URL’s” “tags” to name but a few, and then discuss customisation for the individual look in great detail. The sheer feat of getting my words into an electronic format on the internet has been my main goal. I always write my blog in full before connecting to the internet to upload it; I don’t like the idea of a “draft” looking at me. It also saves time when I am connected because the blog thought processes can be extensive and time consuming.

My biggest mistake this year involved photos and resizing them as I inadvertently muddled imperial and metric sizes, oops! This happened in the early months writing for a friend’s website as a horse-racing pundit. I had worked out how to insert the pictures and resized them where it was necessary, although I had the intention of printing the blogs off and turning them into book form. With this in mind I was always thinking of an A4 page featuring 6×4 INCH photos, but without realising had resized them in the CENTIMETRE range. I had wondered why the photos seemed more like stamps at the time. I don’t think too many blogs were affected either here or on the sports website, but I may go back and check for quality control purposes. Please feel free to read my race reports/results and horse newsletter “From the Horse’s Mouth” which can all be found at www.letstalksport.org.uk.

Initially I didn’t insert photo’s into any of my blogs because I didn’t know how to and was mindful of the image credits issue. Not so bad with my own photographs but a potential minefield elsewhere. I believe the copyright symbol can be inserted into your own snaps using Photoshop and I hope to explore that avenue. But I’m not very confident in finding and transporting the embedded information from internet articles and ask my husband for help in this matter. Very gradually little “extras” have begun to appear in my personal blogs, and I hope to learn how to use with confidence the “Press This” facility on WordPress. Until then I will acknowledge any outside source material the best way I can.

Against the Clock

I began writing my horse-racing posts at the start of the Cheltenham Festival in March 2014. Throughout the five days of racing I was constantly aware of being “against the clock”, feeling it was essential to get the reports done in good time. Being a novice blogger and viewing a sport I had no real knowledge of was no excuse for being sloppy. If I was going to do this, I would do it properly and felt exactly how a sports journalist must feel with a deadline to meet. Timing can be everything, as I discovered when I posted my Scotland Decides and News Views articles, getting some of my biggest number of hits. Of course the issues raised were very topical for the day and I usually avoid these kinds of stories, because they are usually controversial. But I found my own reactions to them incredibly strong and discovered the blogosphere a cathartic means of expressing them!

My Voice

Until I yielded to Rob’s gentle prodding and began this blogging journey, many of my ideas would have remained doodles on paper unseen by anyone. It has been lovely as well as scary to think that some of my musings have been read by strangers in some far-flung place. And it has been great to have a forum to display some of my passions (Bolero, Sydney Devine) and log my research (Harry, Seabiscuit/Arkle). And I’ve also managed to link in my hospital radio programs and Soundcloud files to give them some extra exposure. I’m not overly comfortable with advertising myself, but do understand the need to publicise my latest posts and use Facebook and Twitter to do so. Hopefully, I can learn how to utilise WordPress more effectively to help facilitate getting my blogs found and seen more often too. But undoubtedly in my “Year of the Blog” I have given expression to my writing voice.

Remembering the Space Shuttle Disasters

Who can forget the moment when the US Space Shuttle CHALLENGER exploded just 73 seconds after lift-off from Cape Canaveral Florida, on January 28th 1986? For those of us around at the time, the news footage images of the horn shaped fireball smoke plume in the sky and the grief-stricken faces of launch watchers are not easily forgotten. I was deeply affected by the incident and the final words of tribute from Ronald Reagan at the time, etched into my memory. His inspirational epitaph was taken from of a poem called “High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee Jr. and the words are incredibly poignant. I found them so moving that I even used them in my Mum’s memorial funeral sheet.

The endeavour of space exploration is undoubtedly dangerous, as was known by NASA who lost three crew members aboard Apollo 1 in a ground fire almost twenty years to the day of Challenger (Apollo 1: 27th January 1967). But they had never lost an astronaut in flight before and I believe the Challenger disaster at a stroke, doubled the number of people killed in 25 years of space exploration when all seven crew members perished. This included Christa McAuliffe a school teacher who would have been the first civilian into space. You may not know this, but John Denver the country singer had volunteered for the mission, and after the tragedy wrote a song in memory of those lost. It is called “Flying for Me” and is the last song on the first side of his record album “One World”. After many years of searching I traced the origin of the song and received the album as a Christmas present, some twenty years after the Challenger disaster.

On February 1st 2003 another tragedy befell the Space Shuttle when COLUMBIA disintegrated on re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere killing all seven astronauts. Once again my emotions were deeply touched watching the news, this time knowing the shimmering shards of debris that streaked across the sky represented the extinguishing of life for those brave souls.

During my time broadcasting for hospital radio I have twice been in the studio near the time of these anniversaries. I’ve played the song once and recited the poem once, but this year my show actually falls on the Challenger anniversary. In honour of Christa and her colleagues I will cover both the song and poem together as a small tribute.

You can hear my previous broadcast of both the song and poem (duration 8m 14s) here: https://soundcloud.com/angies_allsorts/remembering-the-space-shuttle-challenger

US Space Shuttle Challenger Crew: Back row (L-R) Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik. Front Row (L-R) Michael Smith, Francis “Dick” Scobee, Ronald McNair.

Challenger Crew Lost. Image credit en.wikipedia.org
Challenger Crew Lost. Image credit en.wikipedia.org

Port Vale v Crewe Alexandra 24th January 2015

Although Port Vale (the Valiants) is based in Staffordshire and Crewe Alexandra (the Railwaymen) in Cheshire, they are geographically only a few miles apart. Therefore when the two meet in the English Football League One it is a big derby match day. I started my volunteer football commentator activities at Port Vale and completed nine seasons based there. But when public transport issues became problematic, after a three month break I transferred to Crewe Alexandra, and am in my third season now. So when these two meet my emotions are mixed as I’m a fan of football rather than a supporter of any particular club.

On the day of the game I unexpectedly found myself with some extra time in the afternoon. With a decent signal on my mobile phone, I decided to follow the events at Vale Park by checking the mobile app “one football” and the Twitter feed from Crewe Alex FC. Using nothing more than these two sources I decided to try and compile a match day report for posterity and this is what I came up with:

First Half: It would appear that both teams were evenly matched with both creating six efforts toward goal, as well as a penalty being saved.

0-15 mins: Port Vale took the initiative when Marshall, positioned outside the box, put a right foot effort too high. Michael O’Connor quickly followed with a 35 yard volley targeted straight at Crewe’s keeper Ben Garratt, giving him an early test. The ball then streaked across the face of goal and went wide from Birchall’s endeavour, all of this action occurring in the first seven minutes. When Port Vale’s Robertson conceded the first corner on ten minutes it was time for Crewe to aim for goal. Jamie Ness launched the ball toward the corner left of the six yard box and found George Ray, who watched his header being saved by Vale keeper Neal in the middle of goal. Shortly after a low ball from Ikpeazu was collected easily by Neal before a Baillie shot into the final third was blocked by Port Vale’s defence.

16-30 mins: Ben Garratt had to make himself big in the box to prevent Ben Williamson breaking the deadlock for Vale. Almost immediately the ball ended up the other end of the park and George Ray forced a save. The main drama happened on 24 minutes when Neal fouled Ajose in the box and conceded a penalty. Ajose’s right kick (after a stuttered run up to the ball) was saved by the Vale keeper who dived to his bottom left side.

31-45 mins: Yates watched a long range shot go high and wide for the home team and Ajose had another effort blocked. Dickinson conceded a corner to Crewe and this time Jamie Ness provided a lovely weighted through ball to Ajose positioned in the middle of the box. His right boot succeeded in placing the ball in the bottom left corner of the net. With 45 +1 on the clock Michael O’Connor’s attempt was saved to keep the score at HT Port Vale 0 Crewe Alexandra 1

Second Half: Port Vale piled on the pressure after making their three substitutions simultaneously, creating nine efforts compared to the oppositions six. Interestingly the Crewe Alex Twitter feed didn’t spring to life until about 15 minutes into the second period!

45-60 mins: Immediately after the interval Dodds got close to goal but found the angle too acute and watched the ball go wide. Ajose in his predatory position in the middle of the box put a volley toward the centre of goal and had it saved. Port Vale’s O’Connor was given a yellow card on 51 minutes and their man Dickinson tried to level the score with a long range effort which went high on 59.

61-75 mins: At the start of this period Port Vale made their three substitutions with Lines, Daniel and Pope coming on for Brown, Birchall and Dodds respectively. In the five minutes that followed whilst the Port Vale squad settled Ness put the ball toward the goal area twice. One shot from outside the box missed going wide left and the other from a direct free kick curled but went high and ten yards wide of the target. Ikpeazu then forced Vale’s keeper Neal to make a save at full stretch from the top right corner. Vale began really pushing the Alex from this point with Williamson forcing a save from six yards out. Robertson’s header failed to convert a Port Vale corner and an O’Conner volley from distance was stopped by Garratt.

76-90 mins: James Jones watched his effort in the final third go high over the bar for Crewe Alex. The Railwaymen made their first substitution on 78 minutes bringing on Ollie Turton for Anthony Grant in midfield. Port Vale’s response in the latter part of the game appeared to be launching long balls into the box seeking out Tom Pope. The Valiant’s top scorer this season, despite being out for thirteen games with a knee problem, failed to capitalise on the supply. Harry Davis helping the Crewe defence soak up the pressure found himself in the book with a yellow card on 82 minutes. Vale’s Daniel at this point had just seen a shot from outside the box drag wide of the right post. Crewe replaced Ikpeazu with Dalla Valle up front with four minutes of regulation time remaining. On the ninetieth minute Tom Pope from two yards out had a free header and his best chance to level the game. Garratt in the centre of his goal took the direct shot and saved it. Five added minutes gave hope to Port Vale and piled on the agony for Crewe. Chris Lines with a vicious left foot shot from outside the box rattled the crossbar. Stewart replaced James Baillie on 90+4 minutes in an attempt to shore up the Alex defence and soak up the aerial onslaught from the Valiant’s. Crewe’s Tate managed a header clearance off the line on 96 minutes before the final whistle sounded. This ensured that the result remained at FT Port Vale 0 Crewe Alex 1.

Crewe Alex had pulled off a club double victory this season against their local rivals, I believe the first time that accolade has happened in the club’s history. The last “double victory” was claimed by Port Vale in the 1985-86 season. It would appear that both teams played with enormous spirit, great gusto without being dirty (only two yellows issued) and provided end to end entertainment from start to finish. Well done lads.

PORT VALE: GK Neal; Defence- Yates, Dickinson, Robertson, Veseli; Midfield– Dodds (Pope), Birchall (Daniel), O’Connor, Brown (Lines); Forwards-Marshall, Williamson.

CREWE ALEX: GK Garratt; Defence-Davis, Ray, Tate, Leigh; Midfield-Grant (Turton), Ness, Jones, Baillie (Stewart); Forward-Ikpeazu (Dalla Valle), Ajose.

Note: Leigh able to play left back, left midfield position and Baillie right back, right midfield position. I suspect as the pressure intensified both players helped form a five man defence with Ajose slotted into a midfield role leaving Ikpeazu up front alone.