25 Years Later
The 1991/92 season would be bittersweet for the Potters, after missing out on the play-offs final; reaching the Autoglass Trophy Final, competing with Liverpool in the League Cup and losing to a non-league side in the FA Cup.
Wembley was at it’s finest on May 16, 1992, as Stoke City prepared to play in the basking London sunshine against Stockport County, who only three days earlier had knocked the Potters out of the Division 3 play-offs.
The Potters reached the final having knocked out Peterborough United with a 1-0 win in the second-leg thanks to a Paul Ware winner.
It was the Autoglass Trophy Final day, the red and white shirts travelled south to descend on North London with scarves aloft, the Potters made up for over 40,000 of the 48,339 fans in attendance that day.
Lou Macari’s spirited side felt a hint of revenge in the air, as they faced Stockport for the fifth time in one season, playing them twice in the league, as well as a home and away tie in the semi-final of the play-offs.
Three out of the four meetings ended in a draw with Wayne Biggins scoring two goals in the first game, and the second game ended in a goalless draw for both teams to share the points.
With two ties to be played in the semi-final of the third division play-offs it was always going to be a close game, Stoke lost 1-0 at Edgeley Park, in the return leg, Mark Stein scored a late goal to tie the game at 1-1, but the Hatters edged the tie 2-1 on aggregate.
In this first ever Wembley meeting between the two clubs, the game was destined to be low scoring after the seasons previous encounters.
The Potters were missing Scottish goalkeeper Ronnie Sinclair, Carl Beeston who had been an integral part of the red and whites midfield, after starting 58 games missed out on the final, as well as Ware who had played in 27 games throughout the season.
Macari’s men were led out by summer signing Vince Overson, the team were met with a rapturous rendition of ‘Delilah,’ which was still being chanted as Sir Bobby Moore met both sets of players as the guest of honour.
Biggins and Stein led the Potters’ frontline, but it was Stockport who thought they had made the breakthrough just six minutes into the game, striker Paul Wheeler had the ball in the back of the night, but referee Robbie Hart disallowed the goal for a foul on Stoke goalkeeper Peter Fox.
The Potters, however, did make the breakthrough in the second-half as Stein volleyed the ball into the roof of the net, after Lee Sandford flicked on a ball which was returned into the box by Overson from a cleared Ian Cranson free-kick.
The jubilant travelling Stoke fans held their scarves and waved their flags up high singing “We Love you City,” as captain, Overson, led the team up those famous Wembley steps to collect the Autoglass Trophy, which was then traditionally passed from player to player.
A bittersweet season for Stoke ended with some silverware to put in the trophy cabinet, promotion through the play-offs would have been a perfect season for the Potters, but Macari’s side completed that process a year later, after finishing top of the Second Division with 93 points, ahead of Bolton and city rivals Port Vale in third.
Stoke City Team:
- Peter Fox
- John Butler
- Dave Kevan
- Ian Cranson
- Vince Overson
- Lee Sandford
- Tony Kelly
- Steve Foley
- Mark Stein
- Wayne Biggins
- Adrian Heath
The Route to the Final
Preliminary Round: Walsall 0 – 2 Stoke City, Sandford (2)
Preliminary Round: Stoke City 3 – 1 Birmingham City, Barnes, Stein (pen), Ware
First Round: Stoke City 3 – 0 Cardiff City, Biggins (2), Stein
Quarter-Final: Stoke City 3 – 1 Walsall, Ware, Beeston, Stein
Semi-Final: Leyton Orient 0 – 1 Stoke City, Stein
Area Final 1st leg: Stoke City 3 – 3 Peterborough United, Biggins (2), Sandford
Area Final 2nd leg: Peterborough United 0 – 1 Stoke City, Ware
Final: Stoke City 1 – 0 Stockport County, Stein