TOWN old boy Akpo Sodje stole the show to deny Gerry Murphy victory in what could turn out to be his final match as caretaker manager.
In a game of great goals, the 27-year-old frontman notched two well-taken equalisers after strikes by Luke Beckett, after just three minutes and 45 seconds, and John McAliskey, who fired home a mere 12 seconds into the second half.
How ironic that a good number of the 10,313 crowd hadn't returned to their seats when Port Vale goalkeeper Joe Anyon was left clawing thin air by McAliskey's 25-yard sizzler, lashed home after he had chested down Andy Taylor's long pass.
They missed his first goal since December 28, 2004, when he helped Town draw 2-2 down at AFC Bournemouth.
Sodje was on the bench for Town that day, having been signed earlier in the season from non-league minnows Erith and Belvedere.
He was 24 then, pretty raw and what rugby league coaches like to describe as a "project".
Work was still very much in progress when Sodje left the Galpharm for Darlington.
Vale picked him up last summer, and a goal tally taken to 15 by Saturday's 35th and 68th-minute efforts suggests he has settled nicely in the Potteries.
"Full marks to Akpo. He took his goals really well," said Murphy.
"His header at the back stick (the second) was particularly good.
"He's clearly found a club he's comfortable at, and give credit to Port Vale.
"Akpo couldn't make the breakthrough when he was here, but they saw something in him when he was at Darlington, signed him and worked on him and are now getting the benefit."
Murphy makes no bones about hoping 22-year-old McAliskey, who he brought through the Academy and who made his first start of the season in place of groin-strain victim Andy Booth on Saturday, can make a Sodje-like transition from sidelines to centre stage.
"John has bags of ability. Just look at how he took his goal," he said.
"He does well in training and the Reserves, and we have to transfer that to the first team.
"He's at an age where he has to get a bit of consistency about his play."
While McAliskey registered his first of the season (from what was half-time substitute Taylor's first touch of the ball) top scorer Beckett's goal was his 12th.
It was dispatched after he had collected Martin McIntosh's pass on the edge of the box and given Mark McGregor the slip.
How unfortunate he couldn't get another in the 12th minute when, from a lovely Danny Schofield cross, he shot wide from close range.
Beckett also shot off target when put through by stand-in right-back Michael Collins after 31 minutes.
And Town, who had lost Schofield to an ankle injury after only 20 minutes (Adnan Ahmed went on), were left to rue those misses when Sodje ran onto Danny Sonner's pass and shot home left footed.
While Town's claims that David Mirfin's header from Ahmed's 36th-minute corner had crossed the line before Sonner cleared were waved away, there was no doubt about McAliskey's net-bulger.
Two minutes later, McAliskey turned creator when he set up Gary Taylor-Fletcher, who deceived Anyon but looked on in despair as his shot hit the keeper's right-hand post.
Had Taylor-Fletcher added to his 11-goal tally, Town would surely have gone on to win, but as it was, Vale got back into the game as Sodje again showed his finishing flair.
Lively midfielder Malvin Kamara, a January transfer window arrival from Cardiff, supplied a great cross from the right and Sodje climbed to direct his header past Glennon.
Two minutes later it was the visitors' turn to rue a missed chance as Sodje set up 22-goal top scorer Leon Constantine, who was in a good position, but fired wide.
Murphy handed a debut to Danny Racchi, who went on as a 78th-minute replacement for McAliskey, and the Academy midfielder had a hand in the 81st-minute move which led to Collins' ball across the face of goal only just evading Beckett.
But Town had a let-off in time added on when Mirfin hacked substitute Michael Walsh's long throw off the line.