Port Vale archive classic – Dean Glover and Darren Beckford stun Middlesbrough



Port Vale had already defied the odds to secure their place in the Championship by the time they headed to Middlesbrough on April 11, 1990.

The Vale were playing in their first season at this level since the 1950s and, having won promotion in the play-offs against Bristol Rovers the previous June, were quickly made among the favourites to go straight back down again.

But John Rudge and his side were having none of that, in fact they even had an outside chance of reaching the play-offs before a 2-1 defeat at home to Newcastle on April 7.

That was the Vale’s first home defeat in five months, but they were outdone by the Magpies’ strikeforce of Mick Quinn and Mark McGhee who had arrived with 55 goals between them and departed with one more apiece as they netted in a ten-minute spell in the first half.

Robbie Earle pulled one back with a  header eight minutes from time but Jim Smith’s third-placed Newcastle held on to close the gap on the top two, Sheffield United and Leeds.

Rudge’s message after the game was clear – ‘We must not allow our good work to filter away.’

He explained: “We must shrug off the disappointment of defeat by Newcastle and bounce back against Middlesbrough. They are a good, footballing side but they are in need of points.”

They certainly were. Boro were on the fringes of the relegation zone but seemed about to ease those worries when they took a commanding lead.  Future Vale player Bernie Slaven put them in front and Dean Glover missed a penalty for the Vale before the break.

So, game over when Peter Davenport made it 2-0 on in the 57th minute? Not a bit of it. Instead the Vale stormed back to turn the game around in the last 15 minutes. That comeback began when they won a second penalty – Glover again stepped forward – and this time beat the keeper.

Glover said after the game: “I didn’t hesitate over my second penalty after Stephen Pears had saved my first with his legs. I didn’t give the lads a chance to get the ball and, on the second occasion, I hit the ball with more power.

“I thought Middlesbrough’s heads dropped after that.”

They dropped even more when Darren Beckford equalised on 75 minutes, then ran through to score a minute from time to give the Vale a 3-2 win.

The Vale’s Sentinel reporter Chris Harper observed: “Vale’s second half comeback silenced the bugler who sounds his trumpet every time Middlesbrough score, but not for the opposition’s goals. So there was a stunned silence at the end when Darren Beckford waltzed through the defence to slip home the winner.”

Chris explained that, although Colin Todd’s Middlesbrough were struggling, the victory shouldn’t be underestimated against a side that was far more expensively assembled.

He said: “Neil Aspin and Dean Glover, at £200,000, were Vale’s top signings on the night while John Rudge pointed to the £700,000 paid out for Peter Davenport and other massive fees for players such as Mark Brennan, Mark Proctor, Ian Phillips and Simon Coleman.”

As for Rudge, he was understandably delighted that his team were continuing to progress in their first season at this level.

Vale had drawn 1-1 at home to Middlesbrough in the October as they found their feet, but this win extended their run to just two defeats in their last eight league games to be comfortably in mid-table.

The manager said: “It was good for our players to compete against these high priced players and emerge winners on the night. I always felt we were the better footballing side, but it seemed we were waiting for something to happen before the lads roused themselves.

“I just felt we needed a goal and it took longer than expected because of Dean Glover’s penalty miss. When it came we always looked the likely winners and the tension was etched on the faces of the Middlesbrough players.”

He added: “Darren Beckford’s finishing was the vital difference at Ayresome Park. You can make all the contingency plans you like beforehand, but at the end of the day it is all about the final touch.”

Beckford would end the season with 21 goals as the Vale finished 11th. The striker would stay with the Vale for another year before moving on to Norwich for a £925,000 fee set by a tribunal.

Not bad considering the Vale had bought him for just £15,000 from Manchester City in 1987 with half the money raised by supporters. They must have known giving it to Rudgie to invest was a wise move.

MIDDLESBROUGH 2

PORT VALE 3

The Championship (Then called Division Two). April 11, 1990)

Middlesbrough: Pears, Parkinson, Phillips, Kernaghan, Coleman, McGee, Slaven, Proctor, Baird (Ripley, 72), Brennan, Davenport.

Sub: Cooper

Port Vale: Grew, Mills, Hughes, Walker, Aspin, Glover, Porter, Earle, Cross, Beckford, Jeffers.

Subs: Parkin, Millar.

Attendance: 14,973.

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