The ten man Valiants can consider themselves a little unlucky not to have left stadium:mk without a point after a battling second-half performance.
Rob Page named an unchanged side for the game but it took the home side just three minutes to break the deadlock. An attack was not cleared by Veseli and the ball fell to Baker who was allowed to try and beat his man several times before driving the ball past an unsighted Neal.
That was the cue for a period of pressure from the home side with Reeves and Alli prominent in much of their better work.
Vale were restricted to just one shot on target in the first period but the key moment arrived on 37 minutes. The tricky Alli had looked exasparated after failing to get through the Vale defence and became embroiled in a confrontation with Chris Lines.
Lines did appear to push the player but there was a clearly delayed reaction as Alli fell to the floor. And so it was to some surprise that Lines was shown a straight red. It seemed a harsh decision if the player hadn’t struck Alli in the face and for a first offence.
By contrast, the home side were guilty of some heavy challenges of their own but to the chagrin of the away sides, cards were few and far between.
Vale’s ten men did better in the second period but as to be expected, chances were few and far between. Arguably the best fell to sub Chris Birchall who failed to connect when unmarked in the box.
That miss was just one more frustration for the Valiants, who deserved better decisions from the ref and could well have earned a point with eleven on the pitch. Nevertheless, the Vale will depart with heads held high after a decent performance, particularly in the second period, against one of the promotion favourites.
Vale: Neal, Yates, Veseli, Robertson, Dickinson, Brown, Marshall, Lines, O’Connor (Dodds), Daniel (Birchall), N’Guessan (Williamson)
Subs: Boot, Duffy, McGivern, Campion