Vale’s chances of a late move into play-off contention were dealt a devastating blow as an early Barnsley goal gave them all three points on Easter Monday.
Rob Page made two changes with the return of AJ Leitch-Smith and Anthony Grant for Sam Kelly and Michael Brown. The Valiants had an early chance for Foley but it was the away side who took the lead on ten minutes. Hourihane’s free-kick beat everyone as it sailed into the Vale net.
Barnsley were frustrating the Vale and none more so than loan forward Ivan Toney who was roundly booed by the crowd after a number of incidents. The Valiants’ best chance of the half fell to Leitch-Smith but he failed to take advantage as Vale trailed going into the break.
Vale started brightly in the second period and White was booked for pulling back Leitch-Smith with White lucky not to receive a red as the Vale striker was clean through. On the hour mark, the Valiants made a double change with Brown and Robinson coming on. The Ryan Inniss was dealt another injury blow as he was forced off to be replaced by Sam Kelly.
Vale continued to press in the closing quarter of the game but were unable to provide the cutting edge as chances went begging with the best of the lot dropping for skipper Dickinson. The defeat probably means Vale’s chances of the play-offs are over for this season.
Vale: Alnwick, Purkiss, Duffy, Inniss (Kelly), Dickinson, Dodds, Grant, O’Connor (Brown), Foley, Hooper (Robinson), Leitch-Smith
Subs: Boot, McGivern, Kennedy, Moore
Attendance: 4,839 (854 away)