1993 Football League Trophy Final
|Event||1992–93 Football League Trophy|
|Date||22 May 1993|
|Venue||Wembley Stadium, London|
|Man of the Match||Bernie Slaven|
|Referee||David Elleray (Harrow)|
The 1993 Football League Trophy Final (known as the Autoglass Trophy for sponsorship reasons) was the 10th final of the domestic football cup competition for teams from Football League Second and Third Division, the Football League Trophy. The final was played at the Wembley Stadium in London on 22 May 1993. The match was contested by Port Vale and Stockport County. Port Vale won the match 2–1 with Paul Kerr and Bernie Slaven the scorers. The attendance was 35,885, all but 8,000 of which were Vale supporters.
The final was the third time these clubs had met in seven days. Vale had edged out Stockport 2–1 on aggregate in the Second Division play-off semi-finals. They had drawn 1–1 at Stockport's Edgeley Park, Glover the scorer for the "Valiants", before the return leg at Vale Park with Martin Foyle the only scorer. This meant that seven days later Vale would return to Wembley to take on West Bromwich Albion in the final.
However, earlier in the season Stockport had won their home league game with Vale 2–0, whereas the Vale Park fixture had finished goalless in the third game of the season.
Route to the final
In the first round – group stage, Vale received a bye. County had to battle through group six of the northern section. They recorded a 3–0 victory at Third Division Chesterfield and a 2–0 win at home to Second Division whipping boys Chester City.
The area finals were two legged affairs; County lost their first leg with Wigan Athletic 2–1 at Springfield Park, before turning the tie around at Edgeley Park with a 2–0 win. Port Vale faced Exeter City, winning 2–1 at home, before a 1–1 draw at St James Park.
Stockport had the first chance, only to have Beaumont denied by a well timed tackle from Swan. Kerr then struck the opening goal of the game in the 4th minute. Slaven started the movement as he collected a loose ball in the centre of the park and hit a through ball past Miller and Todd for Kerr to sprint on and slot home his fourteenth of the season. Van der Laan continued the Valiants spell of pressure, hitting a shot just wide of the goal not long after.
In the 37th minute Vale doubled their lead when Glover put in a cross, which Foyle turned into the path of Slaven, who busrt past three defenders before he directed it to the left of the helpless Neil Edwards. Before the half-time whistle came, Jim Gannon earned the first yellow card of the game.
Vale nearly had the game wrapped up before Stockport got back into the game. Four minutes after the restart Kerr set Porter free, Porter beat Edwards but Wallace saved the day at the expense of a corner.
Substitute Andy Preece was effective right from his introduction, allowing 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) Francis more room up front. Francis forced the ball from Vale keeper Musselwhite's hands and forced him into two good saves.
The mounting pressure from County paid dividends in the 66th minute. On loan player Peter Duffield guided a ball into the box, which Francis directed it over Musselwhite's head.
Sensing a chance of an equaliser, Stockport stepped up the pace, frustrating their opposition. Kerr was booked for a trip on Ward and in injury time Swan and Francis went into the book for pushing, after Francis fouled Musselwhite.
The following week Vale were defeated 3–0 at Wembley and so both clubs remained in the Second Division, though 1993–94 saw Vale promoted as runners-up. Stockport finished 4th in the league, up from their 6th-place finish in 1992–93, they beat York City by the odd goal in the play-off semi-finals, but tasted defeat at Wembley once again as Burnley won the final 2–1. County finally joined Vale in the First Division with automatic promotion in the 1996–97 season. In 2001 Vale lifted the Football League Trophy for a second time.
For John Rudge it was to be his first and last major trophy in his sixteen years in charge at Vale, though he continued to bring the club success in the league, taking them to 28th in the football pyramid in 1996–97, their highest post-war position. Rudge was dismissed in controversial fashion in 1999. Danny Bergara stepped down as County manager after one more season at the helm, he held a number of management positions before his death in 2007.
Vale's Paul Kerr and Bernie Slaven were nearing the end of their careers. Kerr had brief spells with Leicester City and Wycombe Wanderers and Slaven joined Darlington before both men left the professional game in 1995. Stockport's slightly more youthful Kevin Francis enjoyed a longer career in the game, leaving the club in 1995 he spent time with numerous clubs as well as earning two caps for his country in 1998. County's Jim Gannon would find great success as Stockport manager, before taking the reins at Port Vale in 2011 for a controversial stint as manager which ended in his sacking after just 74 days, the shortest appointment in the club's history.
22 May 1993
|Port Vale||2–1||Stockport County|