Winger Cristian Montano scored his third of the season but Vale ultimately lost out to League One side Shrewsbury in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Manager Neil Aspin brought in Billy Reeves, Marcus Harness and Tyrone Barnett into his starting eleven and switched to a back three of Gunning, Smith and Anderson.
Vale got off to the perfect start and Cristian Montano found himself in space on the left-hand side. The winger’s shot went in under the keeper to give the Valiants the lead after just one and a half minutes. The lively Montano caused further problems with his pace as he looked to add to his opening goal.
Shrewsbury had a decent chance to equalise on ten minutes but Morris failed to find the target when well set and on 23 minutes, the same player was denied by the bar with Boot beaten.
On 33 minutes, a good move from Anderson and Gibbons almost allowed Montano in for another chance but the Shrews keeper made a good save. However, Vale were not to rue that missed chance as they took a deserved advantage into the break.
Aspin’s side started the second period brightly with an early chance for Barnett. Moments later, Gibbons had another chance after good Vale play. Shrewsbury also had a good chance with Shaun Whalley missing a decent opportunity. The visitors proceeded to pile on the pressure and it was former Valiant Louis Dodds who scored the equaliser on 68 minutes. True to class, Dodds didn’t celebrate the goal.
Both sides had chances after that equaliser but it was the visitors who found the crucial goal as Whalley’s effort on 81 minutes found the net. Vale tried in vain to rally and sub Ben Whitfield looked to have a golden opportunity in stoppage time but he was ruled to be offside.
However, Shrewsbury’s second-half rally proved to be enough to knock Vale out of the Checkatrade Trophy for this season.
Vale: Boot, Smith, Anderson, Gunning, Gibbons, Pugh (Turner), Reeves, Harness (Whitfield), Denton, Montano, Barnett
Subs: Lainton, Wilson, Kay, Pope, Kelly
Attendance: 996 (117 away)