Port Vale fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to Bolton Wanderers, with a second-half goal from Gethin Jones enough to seal the points for the visitors.
The Valiants were almost gifted the first goal of the game after just four minutes, when a loose back pass to Bolton goalkeeper Matt Gilks was pounced upon by David Worrall just outside the six-yard box, but the Trotters keeper recovered from his initial slip to nip in ahead of Worrall and clear the ball from danger.
Despite some quick breakaways from the Valiants and some nervous moments in the Bolton backline, both sides were unable to carve out any genuine opportunities in the first half-hour of the game, with each side being hampered by early injuries to Will Swan and Antoni Sarcevic for Vale and Bolton respectively.
With just under ten minutes of the half remaining, Scott Brown was called into action for the first time in the game, when a ball swung into the Vale box was met by a glancing header from Eoin Doyle, but Brown was equal to the effort as he calmly caught the ball.
Tom Conlon had the first genuine goalscoring chance of the game in the 40th minute, after Leon Legge’s header was flicked on into the box, and the ball sat up favourably for the Vale captain just 12-yards out, but his effort was blocked and deflected wide for a Vale corner.
It was then Leon Legge’s turn to almost put Vale ahead two minutes later, when he met Conlon’s corner deep at the back post, but Gilks was equal to Legge’s downwards header.
Theo Robinson almost scored with an acrobatic effort as the clocked ticked over into the 45th minute, when he met Worrall’s knock-down outside the box, before his volley on the turn was just inches wide of the right-hand post meaning that despite a multitude of late Vale chances, the game was level at the break.
Robinson had the first real effort for either side in the second half, when his long-range effort from outside the box was collected by Gilks five minutes into the second period, causing no real danger for the Bolton keeper.
But in the 62nd minute Bolton took the lead, after a ball into the box from Oladapo Afolayan was met by the left-foot of Gethin Jones, whose scuffed effort snuck into the bottom-right corner of the net, meaning the Valiants would have to find a response in the remaining 28 minutes of the game to get anything out of the match.
Luke Joyce was the first to test Gilks following Bolton’s opener, with his effort from outside the box stinging the palms of the keeper before the keeper gathered the ball, with 13 minutes of the contest remaining.
The Valiants’ hopes of getting an equaliser were dealt a blow with five minutes of normal time remaining, when Adam Crookes was forced off the pitch through injury, and having made all of our subs, Vale were made to see out the contest with ten-men.
And ultimately, the Valiants were unable to get that equaliser, with a response against Newport County required at Vale Park on Tuesday evening.
Port Vale: Brown, Mills (Taylor 78’), Smith, Legge, Crookes, Joyce (Oyeleke 78’), Conlon, Worrall, Hurst (Amoo 68’), Rodney (Cullen 78’), Swan (Robinson 31’).
Unused subs: Scott, Brisley.
Bolton Wanderers: Gilks, Jones, John, Santos, Baptiste, Lee, Delfouneso, Williams, Sarcevic (Isgrove 26’), Afolayan (Gnahoua 63’), Doyle (Elbouzedi 78’).
Unused subs: Brockbank, Thomason, Tutte, Miller.