The Adams Family rolls out their red carpet
THE class of 1994 may have been in attendance but even Port Vale’s last promotion-winners were left in the shade as Micky Adams’ modern history boys ran riot against Burton.
It is almost two decades since Vale last popped the champagne corks at the end of a league season but the Moët & Chandon must be on ice after their biggest win in 50 years.
Burton could have moved within a point of Vale had they won but a hat-trick from Lee Hughes, two from Ben Williamson, one for Chris Birchall and Tom Pope’s 32nd goal of the season left the Brewers’ automatic promotion bid in tatters.
It was the first time Hughes had managed a hat-trick since he put three past the same side in 2009 and for Adams the whole occasion was a real demonstration of Vale’s potential.
“The first goal was what Lee does best,” said Vale boss Adams. “He was in the right place. He might have got two penalties, but they’ve still got to be put away and he showed all his experience.
“The performance was fuelled by the supporters. When you see 11,000 fans in Vale Park like that it makes me realise why I came here.
“It was a special occasion, but it’s still only three points.We picked up four points over Easter and coped with the pressure of games, but we’re not there yet and there is still work to do.”
Vale took the lead after 12 minutes when Hughes headed in Daniel Jones’ cross and his second arrived ten minutes later from the spot after he was fouled by Zander Diamond.
By now Burton were already looking for the shelter of half-time but they were 3-0 down when it arrived after Birchall curled in from the edge of the box.
The Brewers managed to hold out for five more minutes after the break before Ian Sharps brought down Doug Loft and Hughes had his second from the spot and his third of the game.
Now it was just a question of how many and leading scorer Pope was not about to miss out, grabbing his fifth in three games on 55 minutes.
Matthew Paterson smashed the ball into the top corner with 20 minutes to go to give Burton something to take home but sub Williamson got in on the act three minutes later and had the final word.
“They were a lot better than us. They were strong and ran with more desire,” said Burton boss Gary Rowett. “But that’s ten goals we've conceded in two games and we can’t keep defending like that. It’s given our goal difference a massive battering. So we’ve got to put it right. “I always thought our two home games coming up against Wycombe and Plymouth would define our season more than this game.
“But for 20 minutes in the first half we were all over the shop and we made poor decisions on the ball.”
THIRD TIME LUCKY: Port Vale's Chris Birchall fires home his side’s third goal