Port Vale, revelling in the purist principles once proudly claimed as their own, created the FA Cup shock of the season with Jon McCarthy's second-half goal deservedly dispatched the holders in their fourth-round replay at Burslem last night.
Belying their status as the First Division's 21st-placed club, Vale outplayed the team lying eighth in the Premiership to earn a fifth-round trip to Leeds on Wednesday. Everton, who join Spurs, Derby and Southampton on Vale's list of Cup victims from the top division in recent years, could have no complaints.
Those of Joe Royle, the vanquished manager, were directed against his own players. "We were lucky it wasn't more," he said angrily. "We made them look like Real Madrid." Several of his team had been "downright useless", he complained, going on to make a veiled threat: "We might look back on this game as a big night in Everton's future."
McCarthy, Vale's record buy at pounds 450,000 from York last summer, landed the knock-out blow with 21 minutes remaining. Even after that, the great majority of chances went to the Potteries side as McCarthy and his fellow winger,Steve Guppy, ran amok. Revealingly, Neville Southall was unarguably Everton's outstanding performer.
Ian Bogie, whose last-gasp equaliser at Goodison Park earned Vale this second chance, gave them an early lead. Graham Stuart's prompt reply should have been the signal for Everton to show the form that had seen them go 10 games unbeaten, yet merely had the effect of spurring John Rudge's team to greater things.
Everton's problems began when Southall fumbled Martin Foyle's shot in only 13 seconds, the ball bobbled tantalisingly wide, but Vale were ahead by the 17th minute. Bogie took possession from Andy Hill and swerved past a flat-footed Barry Horne before taking aim with his right foot. A rising drive, from 22 yards, left the keeper groping at fresh air, and this time Bogie needed no deflections.
A tactical switch soon brought Paul Rideout into the fray. In the 32nd minute, last season's Wembley match-winner flicked on Southall's kick following a Vale corner, whereupon Stuart found that Hill, the right back, had gone Awol. Racing 30 yards unchallenged, Stuart scored his 13th goal of the season.
In the first minute of the second half, a fingertip save by Paul Musselwhite thwarted Stuart - one of the few Everton men to emerge with credit - while Guppy cleared Matt Jackson's header off the line. Instead of buckling, Vale resumed the offensive, Bogie and Guppy each bringing the best from Southall, and Tony Naylor spurning a succession of openings.
A clever dummy by Foyle eventually released Guppy on the left. After leaving Jackson trailing again, the left-winger crossed low for McCarthy, charging up from the opposite flank, to drive the winner into the roof of the net. The last time Port Vale knocked out the Cup holders - Blackpool in 1954 - they went on to the semi-finals. Leeds will underestimate them at their peril.
Port Vale (4-4-2): Musselwhite; Hill, Griffiths, Aspin, Tankard; McCarthy, Bogie, Porter, Guppy (Walker, 85); Naylor, Foyle. Substitutes not used: Mills, Van Heusden (gk).
Everton (4-4-2): Southall; Jackson (Limpar, 75), Watson, Short, Unsworth (Rideout, 29); Kanchelskis, Horne, Ebbrell, Hinchcliffe; Stuart, Amokachi. Substitutes not used: Kearton (gk).
Referee: M Reed (Birmingham).Reuse content