Port Vale's Carabao Cup journey has come to an end in the first round after Burton Albion secured a 2-1 at Vale Park.
On a crisp, clear evening in Burslem it was the visitors Burton Albion who started the strongest of the two sides and had a few chances in the opening five minutes. Striker Luke Akins coming within a toe of putting in a Liam Boyce delivery across the six yard box.
The bright start from the visitors appeared to spark the Vale into action. David Worrall at the heart of the attack found Cullen inside the box with a cross but the striker couldn't direct his effort on goal, before James Gibbons' powerful strike from distance forced goalkeeper Kieran O'Hara into making a good save.
Despite the brief response from the Vale, Burton took it one step further and took the lead on the 9th minute through Liam Boyce. Stephen Quinn's ball across the face of goal was tapped home by Boyce to give the visitors a deserved lead.
The goal seemingly took the sting out of a hectic opening 10 minutes and the game began to settle down. Vale looked to carve open chances and were playing some tidy football in the build up to do so, with the likes of Cristian Montano and Tom Conlon linking up with some well worked moves.
Scott Fraser could've doubled the lead for the visitors 25 minutes in had it not been for Scott Brown. The midfielder found himself with a yard of space in the box and stabbed his effort at goal, but Brown was already rushing out of his goal and blocked the effort superbly.
The visitors came close to getting that second just before half time through Lucas Akins. John Brayford's surging run down the right hand side caused problems for the Vale and he looked to find Akins unmarked in the six yard box. Leon Legge sensed the danger, and managed to intercept Brayford's cross before it could reach the striker.
Starting the second half Vale came out all guns blazing at the visitors, and earned themselves a penalty eight minutes in. John O'Toole was judged to have handled the ball inside his own area, and Mark Cullen stepped up to fire home his first goal in a Vale shirt.
Vale had started the second half brilliantly and thoroughly deserved their goal, but Burton had other ideas and soon put the Valiants back to square one. Scott Fraser reacted the quickest to Scott Brown's parry from a Burton effort, and smashed the ball past the goalkeeper to put the visitors back in front.
Richie Bennett and Tom Pope were introduced in place of David Worrall and Mark Cullen in order to add more firepower to the Vale attack with 20 minutes remaining. Vale dominated possession, but struggled to create much in front of goal.
A frustrating night overall as the Valiants bow out of the Carabao Cup for another season.
Port Vale: Brown, Gibbons, Smith, Legge, Crookes, Conlon, Joyce, Worrall (67' Bennett), Amoo, Montano, Cullen (75' Pope).
Unused Subs: Maddison, Evans, Burgess, Kennedy.
Burton Albion: O'hara, Brayford, Edwards, Wallace, Quinn (70' Buxton) , Fraser, Akins, Hutchinson (56' Daniel), Sarkic (74' Sbarra), O'Toole, Boyce
Unused Subs: Templeton, Bywater, Anderson, Beardsley.
Attendance: 2225 (227 away fans)