The Valiants fell on the wrong side of a five-goal thriller against Shrewsbury Town at Montgomery Waters Meadow, despite a battling second half performance.
Vale netted a goal early on in both halves, but first-half strikes from Chey Dunkley, Luke Leahy, and Killian Phillips ensured the home side came away with all three points.
Dennis Politic, who bagged a hattrick at this ground on our last trip, fired us into an early lead when he headed home a delightful Sammy Robinson cross.
The home side responded in the 27th minute through Dunkley when he volleyed home from a Salop corner.
Shrewsbury raced into the lead six minutes later, when Leahy turned in Dunkley’s lofted header.
Two minutes before the interval, January signing Phillips extended Salop’s advantage from close range after Vale failed to clear their lines.
Jamie Proctor netted his first goal of the season to grab one back for Vale eight minutes into the second half, finishing off Gavin Massey’s pass after a sweeping counterattack.
Darrell Clarke made three changes to the team that drew with Accrington Stanley on Tuesday, with Sammy Robinson, Dan Butterworth, and Dennis Politic all coming into the side.
Vale started brightly, and our number 33 looked to give us the lead just over 10 minutes in, but his fierce strike from outside the area flashed wide.
The Valiants had Dan Jones to thank five minutes before the break when he prevented a third goal for the hosts by clearing Ryan Bowman’s effort off of the line.
Massey came close to netting an equaliser on the hour mark, but his header from an in-swinging Robinson cross flew narrowly over the bar.
Throughout the second period, Vale piled the pressure on the Salop goal, and Marko Marosi was forced into a brilliant save low to his left to prevent Jones’ header from sneaking in 25 minutes from time.
Deep into stoppage time, Massey saw an effort curl just wide of the far post, and it just wasn’t to be for the Valiants in Shropshire.
Shrewsbury Town | Marosi, Leahy, Moore, Winchester (76’ Pyke), Phillips, Bowman, Bennett, Bayliss, Dunkley, Saydee (77’ Street), Shipley
Unused Subs | Burgoyne, Bloxham, Barlow, Bailey
Port Vale | Stevens, Jones (70’ Worrall), Donnelly (46’ Forrester), Smith, Garrity, Conlon (89’ Ojo), Benning (82’ Odubeko), Massey, Butterworth (46’ Proctor), Robinson, Politic
Unused Subs | Stone, Pett
Attendance | 8,502 (1,622 Valiants)