Vale slipped to defeat on Valentine’s Day as Barnsley came away from Vale Park with three goals and three points.
Nathan Smith’s early goal seemed to lift the Valiants after Luca Connell had given the Tykes an early lead, but goals from Liam Kitching and Adam Phillips ensured the Reds took the points back to South Yorkshire.
Connell fired the visitors in front within 60 seconds, smashing a ferocious volley into the top right corner.
Vale responded just before the 15-minute mark through Smith, who managed to prod the ball home after David Worrall volleyed the ball into the six-yard box.
However, with only their second shot, Barnsley regained the lead in the 21st minute when Kitching was on hand to head home Connell’s free kick.
Substitute Phillips sealed the points for the Reds on the hour mark after his long-range strike took a looping deflection on its route to the back of the net.
After Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Shrewsbury Town, Darrell Clarke made five changes to the starting line-up with Aidan Stone starting between the posts for the first time in 2023.
Matty Taylor also received his first minutes in a Vale shirt, coming onto the pitch with just under half an hour to go
The Valiants nearly an equaliser minutes before they did, but Harry Isted was on hand to beat away Gavin Massey’s powerful shot from the edge of the area.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, Barnsley nearly conceded a comedic own goal when Isted was forced to catch a looping flick from a Reds’ heel.
Massey, who was making his 450th career league appearance, came close with an effort from distance late on, however, his thunderous strike flew just over the bar.
Clarke’s side thought they had grabbed a goal back in stoppage time, but after Ellis Harrison put the ball into the back of the net from close range, it was ruled out for offside.
Port Vale | Stone, Donnelly, Smith, Worrall, Garrity, Conlon (62’ Conlon), Benning (66’ Harrison), Proctor (62’ Taylor), Ojo, Forrester, Massey
Unused Subs | Stevens, Pett, Agyakwa, Robinson
Barnsley | Isted, Williams, Russell (46’ Phillips), Kitching, Anderson, Cadden, Kane, Norwood (73’ Tedic), Thomas, Cole (73’ Shaw), Connell
Unused Subs | Searle, Martin, Cotter, Larkeche