Port Vale’s lowest competitive crowd for thirty years witnessed a home win as 1,198 saw Nathan Smith score his second goal of his fledgling career.
Manager Bruno Ribeiro made numerous changes to his line-up for the Football League Trophy clash including first starts for Sam Hart, Quentin Pereira, Sebastien Amoros, Martin Paterson and Kiko.
In a disappointing first-half there were chances for Kiko, Forrester and Streete while Vale had shouts for a penalty but it was generally poor fare. Vale brought on Nathan Ferguson for his debut on 39 minutes replacing the injured Sam Hart as it finished goalless at the break.
Early in the second half the Derby keeper was booked for time wasting, while Martin Paterson went close with a couple of chances.
It was then the turn of Rigino Cicilia, who had come on for Forrester, to threaten before Nathan Smith forced a fine save out of the keeper. But Smith was not to be denied as he scored moments later to break the deadlock.
Vale’s final substitution saw Dan Turner come on for Chris Mbamba and it unfortunate that switch was made as soon afterwards Ben Purkiss limped off leaving the Valiants to finish the game with ten men.
The ten men did manage to keep Derby at bay for the closing stages as Vale recorded a win in one of their most controversial and sparsely attended fixtures for some time.