Tom Pope became the fastest player to score twenty goals in the club’s history as the Valiants celebrated the Paul Wildes takeover with a comprehensive thrashing of Bristol Rovers.
Micky Adams made two changes with Ashley Vincent coming in for Rob Taylor and Kingsley James making his full debut in place of Louis Dodds.
The match was played in a buoyant atmosphere after the news of Paul Wildes takeover prior to the game.
But it was the visitors who started the brighter as Vale failed to shake-off the hangover of their poor performance against York.
It took 15 minutes before the first real chance of the game came around. It came somewhat out of the blue, but Tom Pope’s cracking drive, his eighteenth of the season was too good for Rovers keeper Etheridge.
And Vale made it 2-0 a minute later as Pope was on hand to convert Vincent’s cross.
Pope’s almost scored his hat-trick on 35 minutes, but fellow striker Ben Williamson applied the finish for his fifth goal of the season.
At the interval, Vale were comfortably ahead as the new owners addressed the supporters via the public address system.
Vale came out strongly in the second period as John McCombe narrowly missed putting Vale further in front.
But Pope was not to be denied another goal and he became the fastest Vale player to reach twenty goals in a season with his hat-trick on 68 minutes. Pope now replaces all-time leading scorer Wilf Kirkham in the Vale record books. Pope was then replaced by Ryan Lloyd and left the pitch to a standing ovation from Vale fans.
With Pope gone, that brought an end to the Vale scoring, but nevertheless the comprehensive home win was the perfect end to the day when Port Vale entered a new era.
Vale: Neal, Duffy, McCombe, McDonald (Davis), Yates, Myrie-Williams, Burge (McAllister), James, Vincent, Pope (Lloyd), Williamson
Subs: Johnson, Davis, Taylor, Shuker, Dodds