Liam Chilvers turned from villain to hero but Vale agonisingly missed out on sealing promotion at Rochdale after the home side scored a late equaliser.
Chilvers who scored an own-goal in the first-half netted in the dying minutes as results elsewhere went Vale’s way. But the promotion party was stalled as Rochdale netted an injury-time equaliser.
Micky Adams made two changes with Liam Chilvers replacing John McCombe and Louis Dodds replacing Chris Birchall.
In a scrappy opening, the home side had the better chances as Vale failed to create any clearcut chances until the half-hour mark.
Then Hughes nipped in and tried to chip the keeper but the ball was off target. It was Vale’s first decent chance but they failed to build on it as an error by Chilvers gifted Rochdale the lead. The defender headed the ball past keeper Chris Neal and into the Vale net.
But Vale were not to rue that error as their leading scorer Tom Pope headed home his 33rd goal of the season from Adam Yates’ cross just four minutes later. The goal prompted the massive travelling contingent of Vale supporters into their familiar “Feed the Pope and he will score” chant.
The goal and the support from the away fans seemed to inspire Vale with Dodds, Yates and Myrie-Williams all having efforts on goal.
In the second period, Vale had another chance through Myrie-Williams but it went just wide. And the home side also had a decent chance through Kennedy as the game evened itself out.
Then with ninety seconds of normal time remaining, Liam Chilvers scored a goal that looked to have put Vale up only for Rochdale to net a late 93rd minute equaliser and Vale will have to wait a little while longer for their promotion to be confirmed.
The home game against Northampton can’t come soon enough…
Vale: Neal, Yates, Chilvers, Purse, Jones, Myrie-Williams (Birchall), Loft, Griffith, Dodds (Shuker), Hughes (Williamson), Pope
Subs: Johnson, Duffy, Morsy, McCombe