Exeter City were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Port Vale at St James Park in Sky Bet League Two.
Tom Pope's first-half goal gave Vale all three points, and despite City's best efforts to get back into the match, they were unable to find the net.
The Grecians made three changes to the side that were beaten by Luton Town in midweek, as Jordan-Moore-Taylor and Hiram Boateng returned from injury and Kyle Edwards also came into the team with Craig Woodman, Jordan Tillson and Lee Holmes all replaced.
The away side created the first opportunity of the match on five minutes as Ben Whitfield looked to test Christy Pym as the wind hurled around St James Park.
After Kyle Edwards was dispossessed in the City half, Whitfield went for goal and forced a smart save from the Grecians’ goalkeeper as he held onto the ball well after diving to his right.
Danny Pugh was the next Vale player to force a stop from Pym on 13 minutes when he found himself in space on the left-hand side.
But the midfielder could only direct his effort straight at the City keeper in front of the Big Bank.
Jayden Stockley had the Grecians’ first real chance of the match on 23 minutes when he rose above everyone to meet Dean Moxey’s corner, but he could only direct his glancing header the wrong side of the Kelle Roos’ post.
Seconds later, Port Vale made the breakthrough as they burst down the right well and David Worrall squared the ball to Tom Pope in space, who finished calmly past Pym to give the away side the advantage.
Vale looked to benefit from the wind at every opportunity in the first period, and just after the half-hour mark Whitfield unleashed a powerful free-kick from distance, again forcing Pym to make a brilliant save as he tipped over.
In a combative half, which saw both sides struggle for any consistent rhythm, chances became scarcer as the sides went into the break with Neil Aspin more than likely the happier of the two managers.
City began the second-half in better fashion as they increased the tempo in front of the home fans.
After Reid did well to get in down the right, he found Jake Taylor on the overlap who crossed towards Stockley, but the City number 11 couldn’t make a clean connection as Vale eventually cleared.
City had the ball in the net on 58 minutes, but for a foul in the build-up, as Troy Brown headed in a curling Moxey free-kick just before Stockley saw his close-range header edge just over Roos’ goal, after a good delivery from Edwards.
As Paul Tisdale’s side searched for a way back into the match, Jordan Moore-Taylor’s free-kick from just outside the Vale box went close, but the central defender’s effort fizzed just over.
City then created two good chances on 75 minutes as Stockley managed to wriggle some space in a crowded box and shoot, before the ball rebounded to James on the edge of the area, and his low effort on target was blocked bravely by the onrushing Vale defenders.
The Grecians continued to press forward, but that left them vulnerable to the counter-attack and substitute Cristian Montano had the chance to add another for the away side, but for a good stop from Pym.
For all their efforts, the Grecians weren't able to fashion that one clear opportunity as the away side frustrated them and held out for the narrow win.
Exeter City: Pym, Sweeney, James, Stockley, Moore-Taylor, Moxey (Jay, 87), Taylor, Edwards (McAlinden, 70), Reid (Sparkes, 87), Brown, Boateng
Subs not used: Hamon, Archibald-Henville, Jay, Wilson, Byrne, Sparkes
Bookings: Taylor, Moore-Taylor
Port Vale: Roos, Anderson, Kay, Harness (Barnett, 72), Pugh, Pope, Worrall, Gibbons, Smith, Whitfield (Montano, 56), Gunning
Subs not used: Boot, Davis, Reeves, Turner, Stobbs
Bookings: Worrall, Montano, Gibbons, Harness, Kay
Attendance: 4258 (Inc, 243, away)