Jennison Myrie-Williams missed a penalty as Port Vale suffered a surprise 2-0 New Year’s Day home defeat at the hands of Fleetwood.
Micky Adams named an unchanged starting eleven, but Ashley Vincent came back into the squad after recovering from illness.
An open first quarter of an hour saw Vale force a couple of half-chances for Tom Pope, but the best chance fell to the visitors with Chris Neal pulling off a fine save from Brown’s effort.
But then Vale suffered a key blow when stand-in skipper McCombe was forced off and replaced by Clayton McDonald. Tom Pope was handed the armband.
Shortly afterwards, Morsy set up Pope for another chance with 25 minutes gone. And Vale were to regret those missed chances as, during a Fleetwood attack, Neal was unable to David Ball’s effort crossing the line as the visitors took the lead.
The home side could have been even further behind as Brown’s long-range shot went just wide. Vale’s defence looked increasingly ragged following McCombe’s departure and the visitors managed to force a number of good chances.
And Fleetwood made it 2-0 just before the break as they scored a deserved second goal through Alan Goodall’s header.
Vale made changes after the break as Taylor and Vincent came on for Duffy and Andrew, but despite the changes, Vale missed a glorious opportunity to narrow the deficit on the hour mark.
Myrie-Williams was fouled in the area and the winger took the spot-kick himself but it was saved by Fleetwood keeper Davies.
That miss effectively ended Vale’s hopes as they slumped to a surprise home defeat and a poor start to the new year.
Vale: Neal, Duffy (Taylor), McCombe (McDonald), Chilvers, Yates, Myrie-Williams, Morsy, Burge, Andrew (Vincent), Pope, Dodds
Subs: Johnson, James, Shuker, Williamson