A first minute penalty and a second half wonder goal by Exeter City meant Vale suffered defeat for the first time on the road since February.
Askey made one change to the side that beat Crewe Alex last week at Vale Park, as Luke Hannant replaced the injured Manny Oyeleke who looks unlikely to play again this season. Joyce returned to the bench after shaking off a knock alongside Legge who returned from suspension.
The Vale couldn't have got off to a worse start after the referee awarded a penalty to the home side inside a minute. The decision looked to be very harsh on Howkins, who was judged to have man handled striker Bowman too much.
Nicky Law didn't care whether or not the decision was soft and tucked away the penalty calmly past Scott Brown to give the home side the lead after just just one minute on the clock.
Character is a trait this Vale side have shown they've got in the past month, especially on the last away trip to Northampton and Askey would've been looking for a repeat of this after a poor start.
Exeter came ever so close to doubling their lead just ten minutes later, but were denied by a fantastic Scott Brown save (how many times have we said that this season?).
Law whipped a dangerous looking ball into the Vale box which Taylor brushed goal bound off the top of his head. The ball looked destined for the bottom corner but Brown's outstretched arm tipped his effort wide.
Vale looked to respond as the first half entered into the latter stages and showed positive signs of getting back into the game. Conlon had an effort from just outside the box well saved by goalkeeper Christy Pym.
From 20 yards out he whipped his free kick over the wall and dipping towards goal but the keeper managed to get across and palm the ball away from danger.
It's safe to say the players had worked out from the penalty being awarded that any slight touch and the referee was going to award a free kick this afternoon. The game started to turn niggly as the slightest of challenges were being blown up for a free kick.
The Valiants nearly mirrored the nightmare start they had in the first half when they kicked off for the second. Howkins gave the ball away cheaply near his own box and Boateng's clipped ball into the box was put in the back of the net by Bowman. Thankfully for Askey and his men, the linesman had his flag raised for offside.
Eight minutes into the second half, Askey showed his hand first by making a double substitution. There was nothing that Popey or Joyce could do after their introduction to stop Exeter doubling their lead through Hiram Boateng.
The midfielder was given too much space just outside the Vale box and welcomed the clipped ball forward onto his chest, before spinning and firing the ball into the top corner leaving Brown with no chance to double the home sides lead.
As the half dragged on the Valiants looked less likely to get anything out of the game. Exeter came close to adding a third through Boateng, but Brown's darting run off his line seemed to spook the goalscorer and he toe poked his effort wide.
With time running out for the Valiants, Askey introduced Ben Whitfield in place of Luke Hannant for the final ten minutes in hope of an unlikely comeback. Askey's men were refusing to give up, but were struggling to find the quality they were looking for.
A frustrating afternoon in Exeter, to say the least.