Port Vale 3, Stoke City 1
November 24, 1992. FA Cup first round.
Surely the best Potteries derby of modern times?
Stoke had won a league meeting 2-1 at the Victoria Ground that season by the time the teams were paired together in the first round of the FA Cup.
They battled out a goalless draw at Stoke in the first game so headed to Vale Park for a replay screened live on Sky TV, and played in a monsoon.
A ‘competitive’ contest went too far when Steve Foley’s over the ball challenge forced Neil Aspin off with a knee injury on 15 minutes.
Vale were dealt a further blow on 23 when Vince Overson knocked down Kevin Russell’s free kick for Lee Sandford to fire Stoke into the lead. But Vale levelled after just a minute as Nicky Cross found Martin Foyle to beat Ronnie Sinclair with a magnificent angled strike.
Better was to come for Vale just before half time when Cross found Andy Porter who let fly with a shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.
The rain didn’t relent and neither did the chances at either end in the second half – none better than one for Dave Regis. He fired low towards a gaping net, only for the ball to get stuck in a goalmouth puddle, allowing man-of-the-match Peter Swan to hack it clear.
Instead, Vale netted a third when Cross found Foyle who veered past Sinclair before steering home his shot.
Stoke City 0
Port Vale 1
March 3, 1993. Autoglass Trophy
The Potteries football rivalry has never been more intense than that 1992/93 season when the teams locked horns five times, sharing two wins apiece and a draw.
When they met in the southern area semi-final of the Autoglass Trophy at the Victoria Ground on March 3, Stoke were top of what’s now League One and Vale second.
Vale hadn’t won at the Victoria Ground in a competitive game since 1927 but reached half time all square thanks to Mark Stein’s penalty miss but also the tremendous efforts of John Rudge’s injury-hit team to defy Stoke.
Vale had kicked off without the injured Ray Walker and Peter Swan then suffered a further blow when Martin Foyle was forced off with a knee injury eight minutes before the break.
At half time, John Rudge had a simple message for his players: “This is going to be our night. How badly do you want it?”
He got his answer as, instead of cracking under pressure in the second half, they took the lead eight minutes in. Steve Foley’s foul on Robin van der Laan led to Chris Sulley whipping in the free-kick and the Dutchman provided the necessary flicked header to beat Stoke keeper Ronnie Sinclair (Vale’s current goalkeeping coach).
Stoke attacked furiously but the Vale held on and went on to get past Exeter in the Southern Area final before beating Stockport at Wembley.
Stoke City 1
Port Vale 2
March 5, 2001, LDV Vans Trophy
It seems like heresy to leave out other games, including Ian Bogie’s winner after just 12 seconds at Vale Park in 1996, or Vale’s victory at the Britannia Stadium in 2002 when Micky Cummins’ header secured a 1-0 win in the last full Potteries derby.
But I’m going for the LDV Vans meeting between the teams at the Brit in the Northern Area semi-finals in March 2001.
Vale played some great football in the second half of that season under Brian Horton, transforming from relegation candidates to play-off contenders on a run of one defeat in 21 games.
That run included a 1-1 draw at Stoke in the February when City boss Gudjon Thordarson praised Vale’s work rate but said Stoke ‘are definitely the better footballing side.’
City made five changes for this one whereas Horton stuck with his strongest side.
He was rewarded when Micky Cummins put them in front on 64 minutes, but Nicky Mohan equalised three minutes from time. That was harsh on Vale, but they lifted themselves to win it when Mohan was penalised for handball 15 minutes into extra time.
Marc Bridge-Wilkinson scored from the spot – ‘a golden goal’ winner under the rules at the time.
This win gets in because that 2001 side – Goodlad, Cummins, Walsh, Carragher, Burton, Smith, Brammer, Brisco, Bridge-Wilkinson, Brooker and Naylor – deserves recognition. It also proved to be a significant game because Vale went on to win the Trophy, beating Brentford at the Millennium Stadium.