FLEETWOOD Town were handed a rude wake up call to life in the football league, beaten 5-2 at Highbury by high-flying Port Vale.
Despite a bright start Fleetwood found themselves second best for much of the first half and two goals down within 40 minutes.
The Valiants’ first came just before the half hour mark, Jennison Myrie-Williams coming out on top in a touchline battle with Dean Howell, his cross picking out red hot striker Tom Pope grabbing his seventh of the season.
And it was looking like being a long night for Fleetwood when, ten minutes later, Ashley Vincent capped off a fine run with a superb strike low across Davies to double the visitors’ advantage.
But, the Cod Army did hit back before the break, Junior Brown’s looping header from Damien Johnson’s cross handing Micky Mellon’s men a lifeline.
It was a brief spark of light on an otherwise gloomy night, Vale adding to their account after the break.
With half an hour to play Pope grabbed his second of the night, slotting home after Scott Davies had parried John McCombe’s initial effort.
Town were falling apart at the seems and Vale were only to quick to take advantage, Ashley Eastham’s mistake allowing Louis Dodds a clear run at Davies, the midfielder making no mistake with his finish.
And, with 12 minutes remaining, Dodds rubbed salt into Cod wounds, spotting a gap in the Town lines, his surging run could only end one way on a dismal night for Fleetwood.
A late Steven Gillespie penalty, his first Fleetwood Town goal, went some way towards limiting the damage but it was too late for Micky Mellon’s men to salvage anything from the evening.