Saturday afternoon was a record-breaking one for Tom Pope as he became the highest scorer of all-time at Vale Park, but it was Newport County who returned home to Wales with all three points courtesy of strikes from Scot Bennett and Dan Butler.
The Valiants got off to a bright start and they created two chances to open the scoring early on, but Louis Dodds and David Worrall both saw their efforts drop just the wrong side of the post with Joe Day scrambling.
With 14 minutes played, Newport County almost took the lead as Matt Dolan stood over a free-kick. His dipping effort looked destined to nestle in the top corner, but Scott Brown was alert to acrobatically beat the ball away from danger.
Despite Vale’s early pressure, it was the Exiles who scored the first goal of the afternoon after a goalmouth scramble. The ball eventually broke loose to Scot Bennett and he diverted the ball into the corner of the net via the post.
After going a goal down, the Valiants searched for an equaliser and they got it on 27 minutes as Pope sent an emphatic header beyond the ‘keeper. Hannant’s pinpoint delivery from a corner set the striker up and he made no mistakes with the finish before wheeling away in celebration.
As the home supporters chanted in honour of Pope, he went inches away from finding the net again less than 60 seconds later, sending Cristian Montano’s cross onto the post with a diving header. Another chance was then carved out on 33 minutes as Pope turned provider, but Hannant could only find the hands of Day.
Following the restart, it was Michael Flynn’s men who rallied, and they pulled themselves ahead with 47 minutes on the clock. Dan Butler reacted first to a loose ball inside the area and he stroked a low strike into the bottom corner with Brown given no chance of stopping it.
The Vale goalkeeper was on hand to deny the visitors a third goal just before the hour mark, springing across to parry a first-time effort from Josh Sheehan away. Up the other end five minutes later, Pope headed a Hannant corner onto a defender’s arm, but the referee was unmoved as the Vale players protested furiously for a penalty.
With a sense of injustice in the back of their minds, the hosts applied plenty of attacking pressure as Ben Whitfield’s cross-cum-shot fizzed just wide on 69 minutes. Ricky Miller then had two opportunities in quick succession three minutes later, but both of his efforts dropped just the wrong side of the post.
Mitchell Clark was the next to find his way through the Newport defence as he beat several opposing players before laying the ball off to Miller. The striker then opened up his body to send a curling effort towards the far corner, but to his dismay, it cannoned off of the woodwork with 12 minutes left to play.
Vale did throw bodies forward in the dying embers, but that proved to be the final clear-cut sight of goal and Neil Aspin's men had to settle for their first home defeat of the Sky Bet League Two season.
Port Vale: Brown, Montano (Gibbons 72’), Joyce, Legge, Worrall, Pope ©, Hannant, Rawlinson, Dodds (Whitfield 60’), Clark, Hardcastle (Miller 60’).
Unused Substitutes: Hornby, Kay, Quigley, Smith.
Newport County: Day, Pipe, Butler, Franks, Amond (Matt 60’), Harris (Marsh-Brown 90'), Bakinson, Sheehan (O’Brien 78’), Bennett, Demetriou ©.
Unused Substitutes: Townsend, Foulston, Hornby-Forbes, Cooper.
Attendance: 4,385 (223 away).