Gavin Gunning’s first and Tom Pope’s 77th Vale goal secured a minor giantkilling in the cup as the Valiants progressed to the second round.
Manager Neil Aspin brought in keeper Ryan Boot and Tyler Denton as he made changes from the side that lost at home to Swindon Town at the weekend.
The Vale got off to an excellent start when Gavin Gunning headed in his first goal for the club from James Gibbons’ excellent cross. Meanwhile, Boot made some decent saves while at the other end Harness tested out Oxford keeper Simon Eastwood as it finished 1-0 to Vale at the break.
Vale doubled their lead eight minutes into the second period when top-scorer Tom Pope converted Pugh’s cross to make it eight for the season. The Valiants could have stretched their lead with further chances for Denton and Pope.
There was even the luxury of Anton Forrester getting a run-out after his recovery from injury and he was joined by Dan Turner in the closing stages. Forrester may even have extended the home side’s lead but his effort from Denton’s fine cross produced a good save from Eastwood.
However, two goals proved to be enough as Ryan Boot kept a clean sheet and Vale strode comfortably into the second round draw. The side may be still in league danger but with progress in both the FA Cup and Checkatrade Trophy could this be the year for a Vale cup run?
Vale: Boot, Gibbons, Smith, Anderson, Gunning, Pugh, Denton, Harness (Turner), Kay, Worrall (Forrester), Pope (Stobbs)
Subs: Hornby, Tonge, Montano, Reeves
Attendance: 3443 (396 away)