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Wednesday, 18 April, 2001, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Port Vale's route to Cardiff
Port Vale's route to the final
BBC Sport Online looks back at Port Vale's path to the LDV Vans Trophy final.

By Ian Westbrook

Round One

Port Vale 3-0 Notts County
(Smith 8, Brooker 45, Naylor 59)

Vale ended a mini goal-drought to put a second string County side out of the competition. The Valiants, struggling in the League and without a goal for over 300 minutes, went ahead when Alex Smith hammered home a fierce drive. Smith and Tony Naylor missed chances to double the lead before Naylor set up Stephen Brooker to hit the second. Naylor made the game safe after good work by Smith and Marc Bridge-Wilkinson and Robin Gibson's superb save from Tommy Widdrington denied them a fourth. After a brief County rally Gibson saved a Widdrington penalty after a foul on Smith.

Port Vale: Delaney, Cummins, Walsh, Carragher, Tankard, Smith (Twiss 81), Brammer, Widdrington, Bridge-Wilkinson, Brooker (O'Callaghan 69), Naylor (Eyre 81). Unused subs: Brisco, Burns.

Round two

Port Vale 2-0 Chester City
(Doughty og 21, Naylor 65)

Port Vale despatched their Conference opponents with few problems to march into the last eight of the northern section. After Tony Naylor had seen Mattie Woods clear his effort the line, Vale went ahead when Seals defender Matthew Doughty headed Alex Smith's cross past his own keeper Wayne Brown. Vale continued to press and only Brown's heroics kept the score down but he could do nothing when Naylor hit the second from Dave Brammer's pass.

Port Vale: Goodlad, Cummins (Brisco 80), Walsh, Carragher, Tankard (Burns 46), Smith, Brammer (Minton 80), Widdrington, Bridge-Wilkinson, Naylor, Brooker. Unused subs: Delaney, Twiss.

Northern quarter-final

Port Vale 4-0 Darlington
(Lowe 26, Tankard 59, Naylor 70, 74)

Tony Naylor scored twice as Vale won their third successive home game in the competition with their biggest victory so far. They dominated from the outset and Marc Bridge-Wilkinson had already hit the bar before Jamaican international striker Onandi Lowe marked his debut with a goal as he headed in Michael Cummins' cross. Walsh had a header cleared off the line before Allen Tankard headed home Dave Brammer's cross and then Naylor struck. He raced through the Darlington defence to hit his first from close range before wrapping things up from a rebound after Frank van der Geest had denied Tankard.

Port Vale: Goodlad, Cummins, Walsh, Carragher, Tankard (Burton 76), Smith, Brammer (Minton 76), Widdrington, Bridge-Wilkinson, Naylor (Viljanen 84), Lowe. Unused subs: Delaney, Briscoe.

Northern semi-final

Stoke 1-2 Port Vale (aet)
Vale won on golden goal
(Cummins 64, Bridge-Wilkinson pen 104)

Vale stunned holders Stoke with a golden goal extra-time penalty winner in a match switched to the Britannia after two Vale Park postponements. Marc Bridge-Wilkinson held his nerve to slam home the spot-kick after handball by Nicky Mohan. Michael Cummins gave Vale a second half lead after Alex Smith's cross caused confusion in the Stoke defence. Mohan took the tie into extra-time when he smashed home an equaliser after Wayne Thomas created the opportunity but he turned from hero to villain when he was ruled to have handled the ball as he fell and Bridge-Wilkinson took Vale through.

Port Vale: Goodlad, Carragher, Smith, Walsh, Burton, Cummins, Brammer, Bridge-Wilkinson, Brisco, Brooker, Naylor. Unused subs: Delaney, Widdrington, Burns, Viljanen, Eyre.

Northern final, first-leg

Lincoln City 0-2 Port Vale
(Bridge-Wilkinson 53, Naylor 85)

Two second half goals put Vale on course for a place at the Millennium Stadium. Vale came under pressure in the first half with Mark Goodlad denying Peter Gain and John Finnigan. But they gradually worked their way into the game and grabbed a crucial lead when Marc Bridge-Wilkinson scored direct from a free-kick. Leading scorer Tony Naylor ended Lincoln┐s resistance with a close range effort.

Port Vale: Goodlad, Carragher, Smith, Walsh, Burton, Cummins, Brammer, Bridge-Wilkinson, Brisco, Twiss, Naylor. Unused subs: Delaney, Widdrington, Tankard, Viljanen, Burns.

Northern final, second-leg

Port Vale 0-0 Lincoln City
(Port Vale won 2-0 on aggregate)

Vale reached the final after a professional display against the Imps. After a quiet half they took control after the break, hitting the woodwork three times. Dave Brammer struck the post with a powerful shot, Alex Smith then hit the upright after a mazy run before Tony Naylor rattled another post from 12 yards out in injury time. Lincoln goalkeeper Alan Marriott was also called into action with saves from Stephen Brooker and Marc Bridge-Wilkinson.

Port Vale: Goodlad, Carrather, Smith, Walsh, Burton, Cummins, Brammer, Bridge-Wilkinson, Brisco, Naylor, Brooker. Unused subs: Delaney, Widdrington, Tankard. Vijnanen, Twiss.

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