Goals from Tom Conlon, David Amoo and substitute Devante Rodney were not enough to prevent a 10-man Vale from falling to a late 4-3 defeat at the hands of Tranmere Rovers.
After a quiet opening ten minutes, the game sprung into life in the 11th minute, when Otis Khan’s 25-yard effort rattled Scott Brown’s crossbar, before James Vaughan was unable to get a clear connection on the rebound, with Vale surviving an early spell of pressure from the Rovers.
But just three minutes later, the Valiants earnt themselves a penalty when Tom Conlon cut inside his man, and was tripped under a challenge, leaving the referee with no choice but to point to the spot.
And after winning the penalty, Conlon made no mistake from the spot, slotting the ball home into Scott Davies’ bottom left-hand corner and giving the Valiants a 15th minute lead.
It was Tranmere who had the next effort of the game, in what was turning out to be an entertaining contest, when Calum MacDonald’s long-range effort had Brown on his toes, but his effort flew wide of the post.
The Valiants added another goal to their tally in 24th minute of the game, from a wonderfully worked set-piece, when David Worrall’s short corner was played to Conlon, who laid the ball into the path of Amoo, who spun his man in the box, before rifling an effort into the back off the net via the crossbar.
Despite that frantic ten-minute period in which Vale scored twice, the game was short on chances up until the break, with the Valiants holding a two-goal lead on the half-time whistle.
It took five minutes for the first notable action of the second half, when Corey Blackett-Taylor’s angled effort from the edge of the box was parried wide by Brown.
But the game swung in another direction just two minutes later, when Luke Joyce was given a straight red card after his challenge on Kieran Morris, with the Valiants now having to play the final 40 minutes of the game with ten men.
And the Valiants were dealt a further blow in the 58th minute, when James Vaughan finished from six-yards after Blackett-Taylor’s low cross into the box, cutting the Valiants lead in half.
The depleted Valiants defended heroically, and almost regained their two-goal cushion in the 64thminute, when substitute Devante Rodney broke through on goal, but his effort on the angle was skewed wide.
Tranmere thought they had equalised just two minutes later, when Danny Lloyd went through on goal, before a superb tackle from Adam Crookes denied him a clear-goal scoring opportunity, but Vaughan was on hand to put the ball in the net for the Rovers, only for the referee to award Vale a free-kick for a foul in the build-up.
But in the 69th minute, Vaughan had another opportunity to equalise, after Leon Legge was adjudged to have brought down Blackett-Taylor in the box, before Vaughan fired the ball into the back of net, to level the score.
The Valiants showed unbelievable character in the following five minutes, when David Worrall’s whipped free-kick was met by the head of Rodney, who powered the Vale back in front with 15 minutes remaining, an incredible turn of events after everything seemed to be going against the Valiants.
After dealing with wave after wave off Tranmere pressure, Vale broke with Oyeleke playing the ball to Conlon in the box, who forced a smart save from Davies in the 87th minute.
But a spirited performance from 10-man Vale couldn’t yield three points, when Kaiyne Woolery was able to fire an effort past Scott Brown, in the second minute of stoppage time.
And Vale’s disappointment was worsened in the last seconds of the contest when Kieron Morris’ long-range effort flew into the back of the net, with Scott Brown left with no chance.
And that proved to be the last action of the contest, with Vale having to pick themselves up from a devastating blow on Tuesday night when Scunthorpe United visit Vale Park.
Port Vale: Brown, Clark, Smith, Legge, Crookes, Joyce, Conlon, Burgess, Amoo (Oyeleke 82’), Worrall, Pope (Rodney 61’).
Unused subs: Visser, Brisley, Montano, McKirdy, Cullen.
Tranmere Rovers: Davies, Nelson (Smith 85’), Clarke, Monthe, MacDonald, Spearing, Morris, Khan, Blackett-Taylor (Woolery 77’), Lloyd (Ferrier 72’), Vaughan.
Unused subs: Jones, Young, Ray, Banks.