Lee Hughes scored his fifth Vale goal but Port Vale failed to win for the fourth game in a row after visitors Southend won 2-1 on Saturday afternoon.
Micky Adams rang the changes following the 0-0 draw with Bradford in midweek. With Doug Loft suspended and Dan Jones injured, Sam Morsy and Rob Taylor were brought in. Meanwhile, Chris Shuker replaced Ashley Vincent and Lee Hughes replaced the arguably unlucky Louis Dodds.
Vale’s first chance came for Shuker after a storming run by Taylor but Vale were unable to build on that rare bright spell as they conceded a penalty moments later. On twenty minutes, Darren Purse fouled Lund in the box and Clohessy converted from the spot.
Another spell of poor defending allowed the visitors to double their lead on the half-hour mark. Assombalonga took advantage to score a fine second goal for the visitors.
Vale nearly countered through Hughes but the referee blew for a foul in the box. Boos rang out at half-time and Micky Adams responded with two changes – Birchall on for Myrie-Williams and McCombe for Purse.
Clohessy (pen) 21, Assombalonga 31, Hughes 64
Purse, McCombe, Morsy
But the changes were to no avail as Vale initially failed to put any concerted pressure on the visitors. Nothing was going right for the Vale and the crowd’s frustrations were vented towards referee Sheldrake who was given stick for some strange decisions.
Vale countered again as Pope set up Birchall who went close. Then Vale finally managed a goal on the hour mark as the recalled Lee Hughes netted his fifth Vale goal to end the Valiants’ three game goalless run at home.
That goal opened the game up as the crowd got behind the home side. Vale were looking more threatening with Morsy pulling the strings in midfield and Pope went close to ending his eight game drought.
But despite increasing Vale pressure in the closing stages, they were unable to get the all-important equaliser and it ended with yet more frustration for Micky Adams and the Vale Park crowd.
Vale: Neal, Duffy, Chilvers, Purse (McCombe), Taylor, Myrie-Williams (Birchall), Griffith, Morsy, Shuker (Andrew), Hughes, Pope
Subs: Yates, Dodds, Vincent, Williamson