Lee Johnson's side are once again rueing the fact that they have lost a game, having played really well, dominated for long spells and yet again came away with nothing. Jack Grimmer's 52nd minute goal clinching the points for Vale. Latics Mark Oxley also saving a penalty from Jennison Myrie-Williams.
After a slow opening to the second half, MacDonald went down in the Vale box after he had latched onto a loose ball following a misunderstanding between the home defence. Vale's supporters voicing their displeasure at the fact he hadn't been booked for diving.
GOAL 1-0 Shuker's corner to the near post was deftly headed home by Grimmer through a crowd of players in the 6 yard box on 52 minutes.
The home side were now looking for the second goal, putting the visitors defence under severe pressure although a swift counter saw Smith feed Philliskirk in on the right hand side of the box, the Latics top scorer shooting well wide. Smith then shooting straight at Neal with Harkins free in the box a few minutes later.
PENALTY - Dayton brings down Vale top scorer Tom Pope, Oxley brilliantly tips away Myrie-Williams well struck spot kick on 64 minutes. Loft becoming the third home player into the book after he spoke out of turn to referee Sutton.
Johnson threw his last dice on 69 minutes, making a triple substitution, Jonson Clarke-Harris, Michael Petrasso and David Worrall replacing Philliskirk, Dayton and MacDonald.
Petrasso, in the last game of his loan spell, was soon in the action, feeding Smith who's shot skimmed just wide of Neal's post.
Vale's second substitution, on 72 minutes, saw Jordan Hugill replacing Pope. Chris Birchall replacing Myrie-Williams six minutes later.
James Tarkowski saw his header, from yet another Latics corner, drift just wide of Neal's post as Johnson's side looked for the leveller their play deserved.
Worrall then saw his shot saved well by Neal after Harkins delightful through ball had found him in the area.
Despite a late spell of Latics pressure, Vale held on to record the victory that keeps them in the hunt for the play-offs.
FT: Port Vale 1 Latics 0
ATT: 6,002 (594)
Latics: Oxley, Grounds, Wesolowski, Kusunga, Tarkowski, Smith, MacDonald (Worrall), Mellor, Dayton (Petrasso), Philliskirk (Clarke-Harris), Harkins.
Subs: Rachubka, Rooney, Winchester, Lockwood.