Goals from Tom Pope, Cristian Montano and Luke Hannant see Vale cruise into the round of 16 of the Checkatrade Trophy having overcome Stoke City’s Under-21 squad, 4-0.
Neil Aspin made one change to the side that convincingly beat Yeovil Town last weekend, as James Gibbons came in to replace Leon Legge in the defensive line.
Vale started the brighter of the two sides and were almost ahead with just two minutes played. In typical fashion, Pope did brilliantly to hold up the ball before finding Hannant on the edge of the box. The winger came flying onto it though couldn’t direct his whipped shot on target as it narrowly missed the right-hand post.
Vale’s onslaught in the opening stages continued, however this time they made it count as the skipper put his side into the lead with six minutes played. Montano came rushing down the left-hand side before standing up a pin-point cross to the far post, where who else but Pope was there to meet and direct into the far corner sending the home fans into raptures.
As the half-pressed, it was only the home-side who looked to threaten the score-line as James Gibbons was next to go close for The Valiants. The full-back took range from the edge of the box, however his strike took a huge deflection off a Stoke defender that almost wrong-footed The Potters stopper. Jakob Haugaard scurried across his goal and just managed to take hold to relieve the danger.
With just four minutes to play in the first-half, Vale doubled their lead through Montano. Theo Vassell took hold down the left-hand side before cutting inside and striking at goal. His attempt was parried away but only as far as the winger who was on-hand to direct home, and just two minutes later, the Colombians day got even better as he added a third for the home-side.
The ball found its way to Manny Oyeleke on the edge of the Stoke box, before the midfielder threaded a perfect pass to Montano, who once again made no mistake slotting into the bottom corner one-on-one with Haugaard.
With that, Seb Stockbridge blew up to bring the first 45 to an end with The Vale fans in full voice.
Scott Brown was tested for the first time on 58 minutes. Daniel Jarvis swung in a free-kick from the Stoke right-hand side and The Potters forward rose highest to direct a header goalwards, however Brown was equal to the attempt, catching with ease.
Stoke’s positive play was short-lived as just ten minutes later, Hannant put Vale four goals to the good to put the game well and truly beyond the young Potters.
Pope held the ball up before finding Hannant with just the Stoke ‘keeper to beat, and the winger never looked in doubt, as he smashed home into the far-post.
Tom Conlon went close from the edge of the box, though Haugaard was on hand to spare The Potter’s blushes, as Vale continued their search for a fifth.
The young Potters outfit couldn’t muster a response as the Vale see off the under-21 squad, progressing to the round of 16 of the cup competition.
Port Vale: Brown, Gibbons, Montano (Dodds, 59), Kay, Oyeleke, Pope, Hannant (Kanu, 71), Rawlinson, Smith, Vassell, Conlon (Miller, 82)
Unused Subs: Hornby, Joyce, Whitfield, Hardcastle
Stoke City: Haugaard, Tymon (Niakate, 45), Campbell, Verlinden, Sorenson, Shenton, Collins, Waddington (Dunwoody, 58), Jarvis (Pemberton, 85), Thandi, Wara
Unused Subs: Gyollai, Kyeremateng, Stanton, Twyford