The Valiants all but ended their play-off chances as they threw away a two goal lead to lose to strugglers Notts County.
Micky Adams made two changes as Doug Loft and Dan Jones were omitted while Joe Davis and Anthony Griffith brought into the side. Youth team defender Nathan Smith was named on the bench.
The Valiants took the lead after 15 minutes when home defender Thompson headed in Jennison Myrie-Williams. After County had a shot cleared off the line, Vale doubled their lead when Gavin Tomlin’s shot was adjudged to have crossed the line despite furious protests from the home side. It was Tomlin’s second goal against County this season.
However, Notts County countered almost immediately as Spencer pulled one back and five minutes before the break, Spencer’s second strike made it all-square.
Luckless youngster Joe Davis was forced off with a hamstring injury and it could have been even worse for Vale, but the referee waved away appeals for a penalty when the ball looked to strike Myrie-Williams’ hand in the area.
However, that didn’t prevent County’s comeback as three minutes into the second period, County went in-front when good work from the impressive Grealish set up Campbell-Ryce to make it 3-2.
The home side had another appeal for a penalty turned down as they pressed to increase their lead and Vale brought in Ben Williamson as they tried to get back into the game. They nearly did from Pope’s header and then went even closer when Tomlin hit the post, the ball deflected off the keeper but Vale couldn’t force the ball home.
However, with five minutes left, it was the home side who scored again as Campbell-Ryce netted his second to give County all three points. Vale still continued to attack with Pope forcing a fine save out of the keeper but after taking nothing from this game, it now looks like their play-off hopes will be dashed this season.
Vale: Johnson, Duffy, Robertson, Davis (Yates), Dickinson, Birchall (Dodds), Griffith (Williamson), Knott, Myrie-Williams, Pope, Tomlin
Subs: Lloyd, Taylor, Hugill, Smith
Attendance: 5,613 (away 1,059)