Wrexham 1 Port Vale 3
JOEY JONES, Wrexham's new caretaker-manager, discovered there's no sentiment in the harsh world of professional football last night.
The former Welsh international took charge of his first game in the wake of the departures of Brian Flynn and Kevin Reeves but it ended in defeat as Port Vale went back to the Potteries 3-1 winners.
Wrexham were aiming to stop the rot of three defeats on the trot including a 5-0 mauling at Tranmere last Friday. And they had rookie goalkeeper Kristian Rogers to thank for not going a goal down on 14 minutes. Chris Killen, formerly on loan at Wrexham from Manchester City, got down the right and his low cross reached the in-rushing Steve Brooker whose close-range drive was kept out by Rogers.
Wrexham responded almost immediately and Craig Faulconbridge's header was blocked from Darren Ferguson's corner.
Jones was barking out orders from the touchline, but this tepid derby clash desperately needed something to liven it up.
Michael Blackwood almost obliged midway through an un-eventful first half from Ferguson's quickly-taken free-kick, but Liam Burns cleared off the line with keeper Mark Goodlad beaten.
Steve McPhee then went close for Vale as both sides strived for a breakthrough goal.
A good spell by Vale demanded quality tackling by Shaun Holmes and then Willie Miller, Wrexham's loan defender from Dundee, as the game at last came to life.
Lee Trundle, who had been kept relatively quiet by Vale, made a jinking run and almost got Faulcon-bridge in on goal.
Vale took the lead three minutes before half-time through McPhee and soon after Rogers had to make another blinding save to deny Brooker from doubling Vale's lead.
Jones doesn't stand on ceremony at the best of times and no doubt he put Wrexham straight on several points during the break. He resisted the temptation to make changes for the second half but disaster wasn't far away for the Dragons as Killen made it 2-0 a minute after the restart.
That was a killer goal for Wrexham and new man in charge Jones. For a while Wrexham simply lost the plot and the Dragons desperately needed a goal.
Faulconbridge's flashing header brought it to 2- 1 which gave Wrexham - and the crowd - something to bite on.
But it was never easy against uncompromising Vale and dangerman McPhee made it 3-1 eight minutes from time.