Port Vale 2 Town 1Port Vale: 1 Deniz Mehmet, 2 Ben Purkiss, 4 Remie Streete, 6 Ryan Taylor, 10 JJ Hooper, 11 Sam Foley, 15 Anton Forrester (18 Dan Turner, 46), 20 Kiko, 24 Nathan Smith, 25 Callum Guy (31 Billy Reeves 16), 44 Chris Eagles ( 7 Sam Kelly 84)
Subs: 38 Leonardo Fasan, 8 Paulo Tavares, 9 Rigino Cicilia, 46 Olamide Shodipo
Town: 1 Jayson Leutwiler, 2 Joe Riley (20 AJ Leitch-Smith 88), 3 Mat Sadler (c), 7 Shaun Whalley (10 Louis Dodds 71), 12 Junior Brown, 16 Bryn Morris, 18 Gary Deegan, 22 Aristote Nsiala, 23 Alex Rodman, 27 Tyler Roberts, 45 Stefan Payne ( 9 Stephen Humphrys 71)
Subs: 21 Mark Halstead, 17 Ryan Yates, 19 Freddie Ladapo, 24 Adam El-Abd
Ref: Ross Joyce
Assistants: Alix Pashley and Christopher Husband
Fourth Official: Ian Dudley
Attendance: 4626 (719 from Town)
Paul Hurst makes two changes to the side that started the 1-1 draw with Chesterfield last week, in come Junior Brown and Stefan Payne with Adam El-Abd and Freddie Ladapo dropping down to the bench.
The conditions had calmed a little when the game kicked off but it was still a wet, windy and cold night in the Potteries.
The first decent effort on goal came after 5 minutes when a Port Vale free-kick was floated into the danger area by Taylor, Foley flicked it on towards but his effort hit the post but the assistant was already flagging for an offside.
Town were trying to get into the game and when Payne got the ball he came inside looking for options, he played it out to the left to find Rodman who had a good run down the wing, he got in behind the defence but had to settle for a corner.
Leutwiler was the busier of the keepers and after Deegan gave the ball away Eagles had possession, he played a ball to put Hooper in on goal but Leutwiler was down smartly to pull off an important save.
Town were getting more into the game as the half wore on and they were getting some good possession and pressure around the Port Vale goal. The visitors were keeping possession and passing the ball around well, it was played wide to find Brown, he showed good feet to beat his marker and get a cross in towards Payne and Roberts but Mehmet was out quickly to pluck the ball out of the air.
A neat ball in behind the Vale defence saw Payne in on goal with Smith closing him down, the two were going shoulder to shoulder and Payne was showing good strength but some how ref Joyce gave a foul against Payne.
Town had a good chance 5 minutes from the break, Vale were looking to break but Morris did well to cut out a pass and gain possession, he then played it to Rodman who came infield looking for the opening, he skipped past one challenge and then fired in a good looking effort but it was just wide of the target.
The weather was getting worse as the half started but Town were working hard and looking to get at the home side. Vale were looking to see the ball out for a goal-kick but Payne showed great determination to close the ball down and win a corner for Town. A ball down the middle found Roberts and he showed good strength to get away and in on goal, he looked to be in on goal but an important tackle came in and stopped him in his tracks.
The first booking of the game went to the home side and it came after good work from Rodman, he cut out a Vale attack and looked to get away with the counter attack but Kiko stopped him in his tracks with a blatant pull on Rodman's shirt and it was a booking and free-kick.
Vale got their noses in front in controversial fashion after Town looked to have seen the ball behind for goal-kick, the ref looked to his assistant who somehow saw through two posts to give Vale a corner. Taylor swung over the ball and there was Sam Foley to turn the ball home and give the home side the advantage.
Things got worse for Town minutes later after Vale found space down the left, the ball came into the Town box and the defence failed to deal with it before it found Taylor in space and he calmly slotted the ball home to make it 2-0.
Paul Hurst made his first changes on 71 minutes bringing on Louis Dodds and Stephen Humphrys to replace Shaun Whalley and Stefan Payne.
Dodds made an instant impact and it came after some good Town pressure with Brown causing problems down the left, the ball came across and found Dodds in space 25 yards from goal and he drove in a lovely effort that flew into the top corner to give Town hope.
Town were pushing and pushing looking to get back on level terms and a lovely ball from Roberts saw Dodds in behind the defence, he fired a ball across the face of the Vale goal but there was no one there to turn it home.
With two minutes of the half remaining Paul Hurst made his final change with Joe Riley coming off to be replaced by AJ Leitch-Smith, who came on to a chorus of boos from the Vale fans.
Town were pushing and probing looking to get on level terms but with Vale putting everyone behind the ball it was hard work finding the space to get any clear openings.