Midfielder Billy Knott and Doug Loft both scored and each side ended with ten men as the Valiants defeated Crawley.
Crawley had a couple of decent chances early on before Jennison Myrie-Williams was set up by Lines but the winger was unable to open the scoring. Crawley countered but Richard Duffy pulled off a great clearance. On the half-hour mark, Vale conceded a penalty when Joe Davis brought down Rory Fallon. Billy Clarke sent Sam Johnson the wrong way to give Crawley a frankly deserved lead.
But Vale countered when Billy Knott hit his second of the season early into the second-half. It was another good strike from the on-loan midfielder. Clarke could have put the visitors back in front but Johnson pulled off a good save but moments later, Crawley were reduced to ten men as Bulman was sent-off for a second booking.
Vale made a triple substitution with fifteen minutes left, which included the replacement of Billy Knott to general bemusement from the crowd. Knott had certainly done well and Vale could do a lot worse than attempt to sign the midfielder on a permanent basis in the summer.
The game was looking like a draw until Crawley keeper Paul Jones allowed a shot by Doug Loft to slip past him and Loft’s ninth of the season put Vale into the lead with seven minutes left. It was the second time this season that the Vale skipper had scored against Crawley and it put Vale on course for the double over their rivals.
Crawley had a goal disallowed for off-side and then there were ugly scenes after a late challenge on Joe Davis. The resulting confrontation saw Vale’s Chris Robertson dismissed although he didn’t appear to commit any offence.
Despite that late drama, the Valiants kept their concentration to hang on for another valuable three points. However, it was cruel luck on Crawley who created plenty of chances but were missing a clinical forward to put them away.
Vale: Johnson, Duffy, Robertson, Davis, Jones, Myrie-Williams (Birchall), Knott (Taylor), Lines, Loft, Pope, Tomlin (Hugill)
Subs: Griffith, Dodds, Dickinson, Yates
Attendance: 3,755 (28 away)