As the FA Cup Third Round has almost concluded with nine replays to be played in the coming days, it’s time to look back on another day out, this time it was the turn of 1922 winners Huddersfield Town as the entertained Port Vale.
Unlike the first two rounds where I was at the game with the underdog, Huddersfield were the favourites for this one and rightly so. The club sat fourth in the Championship after a very strong start and entertained a Port Vale side without a manager and languishing in 15th place in the league below (League One) after just one win in their previous eight league games.
However the last time the two sides met at the John Smith’s Stadium in the FA Cup, Huddersfield were leading 3-1 with just over 10 minutes to go and managed to lose the match 4-3!
The home side started strongly with Port Vale struggling to compete with their opponents with Kasey Palmer, Jack Payne and new signing Izzy Brown causing the Valiant’s problems.
Huddersfield kept the ball in the Port Vale half for the early stages but Vale goalkeeper Jak Alnwick was not called into action until the 21st minute where he had to be at his best to deny Huddersfield captain Mark Hudson’s header. The save came at a cost though as Alnwick collided with the post. A collision that would eventually force him off later in the match.
The warning signs were there though and soon enough the home side would take the lead after good work from Izzy Brown and Joe Lolley who played in Jack Payne and the midfielder slotted his shot past the hapless Alnwick. 1-0.
Town were in the ascendency now and Vale looked lacklustre as half time approached. Kasey Palmer should have doubled the home side’s lead but he blazed over after being played clean through on goal. The Half Time whistle blew and the 1922 winners led.
A strong half from the home side but Port Vale were definitely not out of it with the scoreline only at 1-0.
The second half begun the same as the first with Vale still struggling to get a foothold on the game. Huddersfield’s Martin Cranie would have the ball in the back of the net soon after the restart, only for it to be ruled out for offside.
This certainly was not a tale of two halves as Port Vale could not really test Joel Coleman in the Huddersfield goal. Two long range efforts the only shots on target for the visitors.
Huddersfield would soon make Vale pay for not venturing out of their half more as Kasey Palmer would double their lead with a deflected strike past substitute keeper Miguel Santos in the Vale goal.
A 2-0 lead soon became a 3-0 lead after Aaron Mooy played a beautiful pass over the top of the Vale back line and substitute Harry Bunn was on hand to bring it onto his left foot and finish past Santos.
The last laugh would go to man of the match Jack Payne though, he got the first and he would get the last, just four minutes after the third goal, Town had a fourth as Payne was given the freedom of the six-yard box to tap in Tareiq Holmes-Dennis’ cross.
The final whistle blew and the Town fans went home happy after a rampant display in which they were never really troubled by their lower league opponents.
As they usually do, the Huddersfield players would go over to the South Stand and thank them, the fans would chant and clap with the players clapping them too for their support.
Speaking to Town fan Darren Smith after the game, he discussed the possibility of a cup run alongside their league performance.
Darren wanted a top 10 Premier League team away or a lower league side at home but he would get neither of his wishes as the draw was made and Town face a difficult trip to in form Rochdale of League One, Dale overcame Barrow in the Third Round and sit in fifth place in League One.
From the performance on this day though, I do not think Huddersfield will have any problems in reaching round five.