Twelve arrests and Port Vale steward hurt as Stoke fans rip out chairs, throw bottles and set off flares in Checkatrade Trophy clash

Seats were ripped from the stands and launched towards police and stewards as the Checkatrade Trophy contest boiled over.

One steward was seen being tended to on the ground after it was believed he was hit by a seat thrown by Stoke fans.

And St John's Ambulance volunteers on duty suggested they had treated a number of people for injuries following the violence.

Flares were scattered onto the pitch and a bottle was launched at Vale’s Luke Hannant after he scored in front of the Stoke supporters.

Staffordshire police deployed over 200 officers after Stoke sold their entire 4,000 allocation in just two days.

And they struggled to control the two sets of supporters who were baying for blood throughout the game.

The situation continued to spiral out of control after the final whistle with Stoke fans clashing with police as they were held in the stadium to keep them away from Vale fans.

They openly fought with officers who were attempting to pen them in as they desperately tried to contain the trouble.

There had earlier been random fights breaking out before the match as supporters made their way to the game.

And Stoke supporters drinking in the Tommy Cheadle's pub within the stadium also wrecked the bar and smashed windows.

Stoke and Port Vale have a long-standing rivalry with the two grounds situated just 3.4 miles apart.

But it is the first time the two rivals have met in over 16 years as the home side ran out 4-0 winners.

The 7,940 attendance is believed the be the second highest in Checkatrade trophy – with Stoke themselves selling 4,000 tickets to watch their under-21 side in action.

Stoke fans were banned from drinking in the majority of Burslem pubs before kick-off and instead were escorted to a bar outside the stadium.

But the attempts to limit the threat of flashpoints appear to have completely failed as sections of the travelling support lost control.

There is now sure to be a major inquiry by the FA into how easily it appeared the situation was able to boil over.

Chief Superintendent Wayne Jones, of Staffordshire Polce, said: "The behaviour of a significant section of those in the away stand was unacceptable and I would like to reassure the local community that we will do all we can to bring those responsible to justice."

Port Vale Supporters' Club chairman Mark Porter was inside the ground. He said: "It was absolutely appalling. Some of the away 'fans' clearly came simply to cause trouble.

"They were throwing bottles, lighters, coins, seats – you name it.

"Dozens of seats have been wrecked. They are an absolute disgrace to their club and should be banned."

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