A patched-up Vale side went down to a defeat to promotion hopefuls Brentford at Griffin Park thanks to Marcella Trotta and Will Grigg’s strikes.
Vale were forced to field a patched-up defence pairing Joe Davis and loanee Jack Grimmer together – after Chris Robertson picked up an injury and Carl Dickinson was missing for family reasons. Captain Doug Loft filled in at left-back while Chris Birchall replaced Jennison Myrie-Williams.
Vale began brightly but were dealt a blow when Tomlin was forced off injured and Jennison Myrie-Williams brought on to replace him.
Vale’s untried defence was doing well but were undone on the half-hour mark when Trotta’s shot evaded Chris Neal.
In the second-half Brentford tried to extend their lead – they firstly had a goal disallowed for a foul on Neal then the Vale keeper pulled off a tremendous save from Trotta.
Vale threw on subs Williamson and Hugill but it was to no avail against a skilful and well organised Brentford side. In the closing minutes, Vale were caught on the counter attack and Grigg scored to put the game beyond Vale’s reach.
Now attention will turn to the Plymouth cup replay but with Grimmer unavailable, Vale will need to assess their defensive options ahead of that vital cup tie.
Vale: Neal, Yates, Grimmer, Davis, Loft, Griffith, Lines, Birchall (Hugill), Tomlin (Myrie-Williams), Pope (Williamson), Dodds
Subs: Johnson, O’Neill, Lloyd, Shuker
Attendance: 8,327 (411 away)