Port Vale lost to Preston for the second time in eleven days as the Valiants ended a bad tempered game with ten players on the pitch.
The Valiants were largely holding their own in the first-half, until the skilful Paul Gallagher scored just three minutes before half-time.
Then Vale’s case was not helped when defender Stephane Zubar was sent-off for an off-the-ball incident involving Vale nemesis Joe Garner. The Vale team appeared stunned by the decision and Zubar had to be persuaded to leave the pitch.
And the home side wrapped it up when a deflected goal from Alan Browne made it 2-0 with ten minutes left. Preston celebrated but there was no excuse for Garner, who had been thoroughly obnoxious throughout, goading the away supporters.
It could have been worse for the Vale as Neal went down injured and the Valiants were grateful that with all three subs used, the keeper was able to continue.
In the circumstances, and with tempers raised, Vale will probably be glad to see the back of Preston for a while.
Vale: Neal, Yates, Duffy (McGivern), Zubar, Dickinson, Dodds (Moore), O’Connor, Lines, Marshall, Williamson (Daniel), Pope
Subs: Johnson, Birchall, Brown, Streete