AT least twelves fans were arrested as a fiery Potteries derby turned into chaos at Vale Park – with reports of several injuries.
Seats were ripped from the stands and launched towards police and stewards as the Checkatrade Trophy contest boiled over.
Reuters9 Violence marred the big Potteries derby clash between Port Vale and Stoke
Reuters9 A pile of seats shows how many were ripped out and thrown along with bottles by Stoke fans at Vale Park
Reuters9 Police and stewards attempt to bring the crowd under control
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.
Reuters9 A bottle of beer whistle towards Vale goalscorer Luke Hannant as the crowd got out of control
Reuters9 Police waded in to confront the Stoke support, with 4,200 making the short trip to Port Vale
Reuters9 Stoke's Ollie Shenton removes a piece of a seat from the pitch as violence erupted in the Checkatrade Trophy match
Reuters9 Flares were let off in the Stoke end and thrown onto the pitch as trouble continued
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.
most read in footballMEET THE FAMILY Who’s in Harry Redknapp's famous family? From son Jamie to Frank Lampard Exclusive'I'M NO FOOTIE THUG' Grandad who threw banana skin at Arsenal star insists ‘I’m NOT racist’ 'great player' Juventus chiefs says club have considered Pogba bid with Utd future in doubt MARK DOWN Arnautovic suffers hamstring blow which could rule him out of key Hammers' games ExclusiveTop Gunner Meet Arsenal TV host Nicole Holliday, who once left Aaron Ramsey red-faced
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.
Reuters9 A flare is launched from the Stoke section
Reuters9 Police in riot gear initially struggled to keep control as Stoke fans boiled 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."