Vale bowed out of the FA Cup in the first round as Archie Collins netted a late winner to secure victory for Exeter City at Vale Park.
Collins’ effort, and a strike in either half from the Grecians marksmen Jevani Brown, did the job for the visitors after Dennis Politic, and Danny Butterworth had put Vale in a position to force a replay.
Politic opened the scoring for the Valiants after 25 minutes when he was played through beautifully by Butterworth, before slotting it past Jamal Blackman.
The Grecians equalised just before halftime through Brown when he slammed home Jay Stansfield’s cutback after their number nine had won the ball on the right-hand side.
Brown netted his second of the match to give the visitors the lead with just under 25 minutes to go through a brilliant strike from 25 yards out.
Butterworth smashed home a late equaliser for the Valiants after Mal Benning fired a low ball across the face of goal, which he duly fired into the back of the net.
However, just two minutes later in the 89th minute, Archie Collins curled home an effort from distance to restore the lead for the visitors.
Darrell Clarke made seven changes to the side that drew down at Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday, with one of those being the selection of Aidan Stone in between the sticks for Vale.
Butterworth saw the first sight of goal for Vale after eight minutes, but after beating a couple of defenders on the edge of the box, his shot trickled into the hands of Blackman.
Moments later, Dan Jones produced a brilliant challenge up the other end to stop Stansfield from finding the back of the net when he looked likely to give the visitors the lead.
Vale had a brilliant opportunity to take the lead in the 18th minute when Politic won possession high up the pitch and raced through one-on-one, but Blackman managed to produce a strong stop to deny our number 33.
Both sides were having their chances, and the visitors came close after 24 minutes after Jack Caprice put in a low cross for Sam Nombe, however, he could only hit the side netting from close range.
After the goal, Vale upped the pressure, and Politic nearly added to the score line when he saw an effort smash off the bar after a well-worked corner routine was laid off to him by Tom Conlon.
The Grecians came close to extending their lead in the final 20 minutes through Collins, with his whipped free kick from the left-hand side cannoning back off the bar.
Harry Charsley, who came on as a substitute, tried to spark Vale into life, and he came close through a curling effort in the final 10 minutes, but a deflection guided the ball just wide of the post.
Exeter thought they had sealed the victory with a third goal with only minutes remaining, however, Stansfield’s effort, which looked certain to find the back of the net, took a slight deflection which took it just wide.
In a frantic finish to the match, Vale had two chances to force a replay late on, with the first from Butterworth forcing a strong save from Blackman.
Gavin Massey then had a brilliant chance to score in the last chance of the game, but when the ball fell to him from a corner, he couldn’t quite get hold of his effort from close range, and he sent it wide of the post.
Port Vale | Stone, Cass (75’ Robinson), Jones, Smith, Worrall, Conlon, Odubeko (67’ Holden), Pett (55’ Massey), Butterworth, McCarron (55’ Benning), Politic (67’ Charsley)
Unused Subs | Stevens, Small, Hall, McDermott
Exeter City | Blackman, Caprice, Sparkes, Hartridge, Collins, Stansfield (90’ Jay), Nombe (75’ Kite), Key, Dieng, Brown, Sweeney
Unused Subs | Brown, Harper, Chauke, Cox, Beardmore
Attendance | 4,807 (205 away)