Port Vale hero Steve Brooker recalls cup final goal

Published in the programme for the 2013 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final

In 2001, Port Vale lifted the Johnstone’s Paint trophy for a second time in eight years after beating Brentford 2-1 at the Millennium Stadium.

Now retired striker Steve Brooker wrote his name into club history that day by netting a late winner, and ahead of last Sunday’s final between Crewe and Southend, the former Doncaster Rovers and Bristol City hitman relived his memories of that famous victory.

“It’s something I look back on, now that I’ve retired, as a great moment in my career, definitely in the top two or three,” he said.

“It was so special to score the winning goal in the Millennium Stadium – I don’t think many of the lads had been in a stadium that big.

“At that time the away dressing room was proving lucky for teams and that’s how it worked out for us.

“Brentford scored through Michael Dobson from a corner as early as the third minute and the longer a game goes on, the more you feel like it’s going to slip away. We thought the comeback might not happen.

“Then Tony Naylor got brought down in the box, Marc Bridge-Wilkinson scored the penalty and we were right back in it. It was just a matter of time before we went on and won the game.

“To score the winner was great, especially as it came late on with just seven minutes left.

“I’ve watched the video a couple of times since and my dad still watches it to this day.

“Tony nicked the ball off their centre-half and touched it inside to me. I think I was about 18 yards out and I just thought I’m going to hit this. I managed to get a good contact and it flew into the roof of the net.

“One thing that this trophy gives lower league players is a chance to win a cup final. You go through your childhood watching FA Cup finals and to be able to replicate that yourself was amazing.”

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