Arsenal 0 Port Vale 0
Port Vale's heroes held out to force a well-deserved replay against mighty
Arsenal after reducing the Gunners to total frustration in a Highbury tie that
once again showed the magic and unpredictability of the FA Cup.
Beaten in their previous six Nationwide League First Division games, Port Vale
arrived as 9-1 no-hopers but left Dennis Bergkamp and the rest of the Arsenal
superstars without excuses for a dismal Arsenal performance which finished with
them being jeered off by 37,000 home fans.
In the closing stages gallant Vale, who knocked Spurs out of the Cup in a
dramatic upset 10 years ago, were hanging on for dear life as goalkeeper Paul
Musselwhite pulled off brilliant saves from Stephen Hughes and Luis Boa Morte,
two of three substitutes Arsenal desperately flung on in an attempt to break
But earlier Port Vale had matched their illustrious hosts for both skill and
determination and could have been ahead on the half-hour only for referee Paul
Alcock to rule Tony Naylor's close-range effort offside.
Arsenal had started like a train with Marc Overmars and Martin Keown both
going close but once Port Vale had settled to the occasion, Arsene Wenger's
expensive team struggled to create any real openings.
Bergkamp was in the kind of poor form that has accompanied him since his
suspension earlier this season but had a great chance 17 minutes from time to
score only his second goal in nine games.
Keown's through ball allowed the Dutchman to shrug off all challenges to
produce a one-on-one with keeper Musselwhite but he stroked his angled shot a
yard wide of the far post.
Port Vale defended in depth and had four players booked for a variety of fouls
but their speed and neatness on the break never allowed Arsenal's defence to
settle until the last 10 minutes when there was a virtual siege in the Port Vale
But by then it was desperation time for Arsenal as skipper Neil Aspin
commanded his defence with aplomb and Port Vale rode their luck when Boa Morte's
header from a corner was cleared off the line by Wayne Corden to crown Arsenal's
Arsenal: Seaman, Winterburn, Vieira, Bould, Anelka (Wreh 69),
Bergkamp, Overmars, Parlour (Boa Morte 69), Keown,
Petit (Hughes 46), Grimandi.
Subs Not Used: Manninger, Upson.
Port Vale: Musselwhite, Hill, Tankard, Bogie, Aspin, Snijders,
Ainsworth, Porter, Talbot, Naylor (Foyle 79), Corden.
Subs Not Used: Van Heusden, Mills, Glover, Jansson.
Booked: Porter, Corden, Talbot.
Ref: P E Alcock (Redhill).