Recalled forward Louis Dodds scored twice but to no avail as Crawley came from behind twice to win on Tuesday night.
Rob Page made three changes to his team – Carl Dickinson and Byron Moore were both injured and replaced by Adam Yates and Colin Daniel while Ben Williamson dropped to the bench as Dodds started.
The selection of Louis Dodds looked inspired as he gave Vale the lead after just three minutes with a good finish from a Mark Marshall corner.
However, Vale failed to drive home their advantage and Crawley equalised just three minutes from half-time through Wordsworth. But it was Louis Dodds to the rescue once again as he netted just two minutes later to give Vale a 2-1 interval lead.
The visitors bounced back in the second period when the dangerous Izale McLeod levelled with a header on 55 minutes. And Vale’s night took a distinct turn for the worst on 70 minutes when defender Richard Wood headed home from a corner to put the visitors in the lead.
Vale made changes and had chances but two home defeats in a row have probably put paid to their play-off hopes.
Vale: Neal, Yates, Veseli, Robertson, McGivern, Marshall, Brown (O’Sullivan), O’Connor, Daniel (Williamson), Dodds, Pope (Campion)
Subs: Johnson, Birchall, Duffy, Lloyd,