Port Vale youngsters suffered an opening day defeat in their new campaign at the hands of Tranmere Rovers.
Tranmere took the lead in the 14th minute when a Rovers attack eventually fell to the feet of the visitors No. 10 some 25 yards out, he took a couple of strides sideways and unleashed an unstoppable drive just inside the far post to leave Dequan Crockwell rooted in the middle of the goal.
Before Vale had settled down, the score was doubled, as a cross into the goalmouth dropped near to Tranmere’s right winger and his header dropped into the corner of the net.
Vale responded immediately and had the ball in the net but, James Steele was adjudged to have handled to control the ball before knocking home from close range.
The Valiants created another opportunity through Steele, as the midfielder was allowed to break, playing in Benns whose long range shot was well held just beneath the bar. Benns had another long range effort that went just wide, as Vale continued to try and get back into the game.
However, Crockwell was soon in action moments later as he got a firm hand to shot going into the near post at the expense of a corner and then came to collect the corner to erase any threat.
In the final minute of the half Vale won a corner and Zac Hill sent a header looping over the bar.
At the interval Vale had brought on Finnley Jackson for Hill at the back but the second half almost began in much the same fashion as the first, but Crockwell got down well to save at No. 10’s feet.
The hosts began to get more into the game and a shot by Lucas Green-Birch was charged down with the ball running to Benns who shot a yard over the bar from wide right of the penalty area.
Minutes after, Benns was soon running in at goal and after evading a couple of challenges the third saw the ball run to Jake Thomas whose shot was charged down.
Vale were looking to get back in the game but Tranmere were limiting their efforts to shots from distance as Steele saw a shot charged down just outside the area and then put the rebound over the bar.
Mick Ede made two more substitutions on the hour mark as Joshua Ede dropped to fullback and Jack Wakefield going on the wing and Joe Berks joining the frontline.
Vale continued to press and Jack Grimshaw misdirected a header at goal but the ball arrived at the feet of the Benns but his effort went over the bar.
Finally the breakthrough came after 76 minutes as Vale broke up a Tranmere attack just inside the Vale half and broke quickly, with the ball being played out wide right to Berks, who then cut in and slotted the ball past the ‘keeper and just inside the far post.
The game would end then in a 2-1 defeat, with Vale being unable to find a point, which their performance deserved.
Port Vale: Dequan Crockwell, Jake Thomas, Ryan Gordon-Campbell (Jack Wakefield 60), Matty Ward, Josh Ryder, Zac Hill (Finnley Jackson 46), Harry Benns, James Steele (Jack Grimshaw70), Tom Daulby, Lucas Green-Birch (Joe Berks 60), Joshua Ede.
Subs not used: Mawgan Blight