Port Vale stretched their unbeaten start to the league at home to nine matches after a late Mark Cullen strike sealed a 2-1 win over Carlisle United.
The Vale came into this one with three clean sheets in their last four matches in all competitions, yet could not have got off to a much worse start in this one. Gethin Jones received a lovely ball down the right and crossed low into the box where Loft was open to tap it home, less than thirty seconds after kick-off to put the away side in the lead.
However, the Vale responded well and nearly equalised just a minute later. David Amoo picked up a ball on the right and found Richie Bennett in the box whose effort was tipped round the post by Adam Collin.
It was an entertaining first five minutes at Vale Park to say the least, and the Valiants very nearly equalised again, this time through Jake Taylor. The Vale midfielder received the ball from Cristian Montano, held the ball up well and struck from outside the box, only to see his effort rebound off the post.
John Askey would have been pleased with how his side reacted to going a goal down, and they should have equalised through Bennett just before ten minutes. A corner came in from Worrall and Leon Legge’s header found Bennett in the box whose strike was saved from close range.
Just moments after that, Collin was called into action to deny Bennett once again. Amoo crossed the ball from the right and the Vale forward rose highest, but his header was saved by the Carlisle keeper.
The Vale continued to dominate this game and didn’t give the Cumbrians a sniff after their opener, and it was Bennett who was looking threatening again. Taylor fired a ball into the feet of Bennett who turned well but his effort was blocked before it could trouble Collin.
After 25 minutes, the Amoo-Bennett combination looked dangerous again. It was the Amoo down the flank again and his cross found the Vale striker in the box whose header was deflected out for a corner.
Just as the Vale were looking likely and throwing players forward, Carlisle fashioned a rare attack one the counter. It was James Gibbons who came to the rescue as Olufela Olomola threaded Loft through, yet the Vale right-back made an excellent challenge to deny to Carlisle forward a run at goal.
Despite being the much better side in the first period, the Vale went into the break trailing.
It was a slow start to the second-half with neither side creating any real chances of note.
It took until the 60th minute for the Vale side to fashion their first real chance of the second-half, Taylor made a surging run into the box but his low shot was well blocked.
Just moments later Vale found a well-deserved equaliser through David Worrall. Amoo received the ball on right and his delivery was fantastically flicked on by Gibbons onto the back post where Worrall was in a perfect position to poke home for his second goal in as many games.
The game quietened down after the Vale equaliser yet the next chance fell to Nathan Thomas who cut inside and shot yet was tipped over excellently by Brown.
Taylor was involved in Vale's next chance with just ten minutes to go, Montano's cross fell to Taylor who unleashed a powerful shot which was well blocked.
Moments later it was Vale who just about survived, Loft was left unmarked in the area and had plenty of time but smashed his effort over the bar.
With just over five minutes left it was the midweek hero, Mark Cullen, who struck to put the Vale ahead. Gibbons' cross was missed by the Carlisle centre-half and Cullen was there at the back post to tap home to put the Valiants in front.
Despite late preessure from the away side, Askey's men held on to make it five wins in six in all competitions for the Vale.
Port Vale: Brown, Gibbons, Joyce, Legge, Worrall, Montano, Smith, Taylor, Amoo, Burgess (72' Cullen), Bennett (57' Pope)
Unused Subs: Browne, Evans, Lloyd, Brisley, Maddison
Carlisle United: Collin, Iredale, Carroll (88' Sorenson), Thomas, Jones, McKirdy, Jones, Webster, Branthwaite, Olomola (64' Bridge), Loft
Unused Subs: Gray, Mellish, Hayden, Bridge, Elliot, Knight-Percival,