Vale were left with a depleted defence for their opening FA Cup tie with Forest Green after John McCombe was sent-off and Gareth Owen was injured during the 2-0 defeat to Northampton.
Vale ended the game with a make-shift defence of Joe Davis and Kingsley James as goals from Ashley Nicholls and Lewis Moult gave the home side all three points.
Micky Adams had made four changes with Owen, Yates, Burge and Williamson recalled to the starting eleven.
But the new-look central defensive partnership of McCombe and Owen conceded after just twenty minutes as Nicholls gave Northampton the lead picking up a serious injury in the process.
Vale’s chances of recovering suffered a massive blow as captain McCombe was sent-off for his challenge on Nicholls which led to the injury. Nicholls had sadly suffered a broken leg in the challenge and we hope that he makes a rapid and complete recovery.
Adams brought on Davis to replace the luckless Williamson who had was making a rare start, but the home side doubled their lead on 43 minutes through substitute Moult.
Vale felt they had a good shout for a penalty when Vincent appeared to be brought down in the box, but the referee rejected Vale’s appeals. That lead to tempers flaring after the half-time whistle was blown.
Owen was clearly struggling and was replaced at the interval by Kingsley James who lined up alongside Davis in central defence.
Vale looked more fluid in the second period and despite their inexperience, Davis and James were keeping the powerful Akinfenwa at bay.
But it always looked an uphill challenge to bounce back from two goals down with ten men as Vale succumbed to their second league defeat.
Vale: Neal, Yates, McCombe, Owen (James), Taylor, Myrie-Williams, Morsy (Lloyd), Burge, Vincent, Williamson (Davis), Pope
Subs: Johnson, Dodds, Murphy, Shuker