Rob Taylor’s first goal of the season was overshadowed by what appeared to be a serious injury to Lewis Haldane as Vale went out of the Johnstone’s Paints Trophy.
Taylor’s strike was cancelled out by Ash Taylor’s late equaliser as the game went to penalties with the shootout finishing 4-2 to Tranmere. Subs Gary Roberts and Tom Pope were the Vale players to miss out from the spot.
Micky Adams made five changes from the side that lost to Southend with Chris Martin, Rob Taylor, Ryan Burge, Lewis Haldane and Louis Dodds all earning starting spots.
Tranmere enjoyed the majority of chances in the first half as Vale’s goal lead a charmed life in the opening stages.
The home side nearly took the lead on ten seconds, but Labadie’s shot rattled the bar with Martin beaten. Then the home side won a penalty when McCombe fouled in the box but McChrystal’s resulting spot-kick rattled the Vale bar for a second time.
Vale’s best chance of the first half came from Lewis Haldane with a shot that dragged wide. Meanwhile Tranmere again came close in the dying moments of the half only for Ash Taylor’s header to go wide.
After all the Rovers pressure, it was ironic that Vale should take the lead in the second-half from a rare breakaway.
On 50 minutes, Lewis Haldane broke clear of the defence and Fon-Williams did well to save Haldane’s shot but Rob Taylor was on hand to score his first of the season. Vale were enjoying a much better second-half and Haldane and Dodds went close to doubling the visitors’ lead.
But Vale’s fine period of play was marred by what appeared to be a serious injury to Haldane who was stretchered off on the hour mark.
And Vale paid the price for not extending their lead when Tranmere drew level through Ash Williams in the final minutes.
There were eight minutes of injury time to account for Haldane’s treatment and despite chances, neither side were able to score and it went to penalties.
Penalty shoot-out stats (Tranmere first):
Labadie – scored 1-0
Roberts – missed 1-0
Power – scored 2-0
Martin – scored 2-1
Welsh – saved 2-1
Pope – saved 2-1
Weir – scored 3-1
McDonald – scored 3-2
Taylor – scored 4-2
Tranmere: Fon-Williams, Kay, Taylor, McChristal (Raven), Bakayogo, Welsh, Labadie, Weir, Devaney, Atkins (Robinson), Tiryaki
Subs: Coughlin, Robinson, Buchanan, Raven, Power
Vale: Martin, Yates, Owen, McCombe, McDonald, Collins, Griffith, Burge, R.Taylor (Roberts), Dodds (Pope), Haldane (Williamson)
Subs: Tomlinson, Morsy