Milan Baros helped secure Aston Villa's place in the FA Cup fifth round with a brace against Port Vale.
Baros added the goals to compliment his side's domination
Vale had a great chance to take the lead when Leon Constantine broke through on goal but he dragged his second-half shot disappointingly wide.
The League One side paid the price as Baros slotted home an angled shot before nodding in at the far post.
Nathan Lowndes flicked in a header to give Vale hope but Steven Davis' late diving header sealed Villa's win.
Villa had had a forgettable first half as they failed to find a cutting edge and the home crowd quickly became restless.
They had more of the possession but only had an 18-yard shot from midfielder James Milner, which keeper Mark Goodlad gathered at the second attempt, to show for their early efforts.
The visitors were disciplined in defence and almost caught the Premiership side out on the counter-attack when Michael Husbands whipped in a right-wing cross from which Sam Togwell mistimed a six-yard header over to the relief of the home defence.
Davis is quickly closed down by the Vale defence
Villa were struggling to make their Premiership status count and their frustration was summed up when Baros spurned a double chance.
Firstly, the striker latched on to a diagonal ball by Davis but saw his shot blocked by the alert Goodlad before he turned and blazed over when the ball was played back into the box.
Angel headed over as Villa's struggles continued and there were some boos as they went in at half-time.
Milner lashed an angled shot over after the break and Villa's woes only served to raise Vale's confidence.
And Constantine had a great chance when he had a clear run on goal only to drag his shot wide.
The miss proved costly as Villa substitute Kevin Phillips had an instant impact by playing Baros through for the Czech Republic forward to angle a shot into the bottom corner of Goodlad's goal.
Baros was then in the right place at the right time as Olof Mellberg headed on Milner's corner to the far post and the striker had the simplest of finishes.
Lowndes pulled one back for Vale as they set up a tense finish before Davis eased Villa's nerves with his late goal.
Aston Villa manager David O'Leary:
"It was good to have Kevin Phillips back. He is a really good player and there is no doubt that we have missed him.
"It was lovely to have a senior player like him on the bench to be able
to call upon instead of having kids. He quickly made his presence known.
"He has done well for us this season, somebody I wish I could have signed a
couple of years ago, and having him back will give us competition up front.
"Milan Baros is a threat and will score you goals. That is the type of striker he is.
"Sometimes they might not do much but they are always there in the box.
Michael Owen is the same at times but you judge them on their goals.
"Anyone with the pace of Milan is a threat. He will always enjoy the way we
play and will always get his chances."
Port Vale manager Martin Foyle:
"The lads were disappointed afterwards because they thought they could have got something out of the game.
"Villa were a bit nervous because of their crowd and we got to half-time
being level which was our main objective after frustrating them.
"They scored at the right time and I thought the second goal had killed the
game off but we then had a real go at them. They were on the back foot and we
had three or four good chances.
"Sean Doherty had a couple of good opportunities and on another day they
might have gone in but we played well and, like I said, felt we could have got
Aston Villa: Sorensen, Hughes, Delaney, Mellberg, Samuel, Hendrie, Davis, McCann, Milner, Angel (Phillips 68), Baros.
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Whittingham, Ridgewell, Moore.
Goals: Baros 70, 74, Davis 90.
Port Vale: Goodlad, Abbey, Pilkington, Fortune (Birchall 71), James, Cummins, Dinning, Togwell, Innes (Doherty 72), Constantine (Lowndes 76), Husbands.
Subs Not Used: Brain, Sonner.
Goals: Lowndes 85.
Ref: S Bennett (Kent).