Forest Green head coach Rob Edwards insisted his side must “react” after tasting a league defeat for the first time this season.
Jamie Proctor’s brace gave Port Vale their first win of the season as Forest Green’s 100 percent start to the season came off the rails.
Rovers were hampered by the loss of the suspended Ebou Adams and the injured Nicky Cadden, but in truth, it was a below-par performance.
Edwards said: “We’ve had a really good run of four wins out of five in the league, so it’s been a really good start. We’ve said to the lads it’s about how we react now.
“We believe in them so it’s important we all get behind them.
“Credit to Port Vale. They deserved the win and there’s no doubt about that.
“We were a bit flat today. We lacked some rhythm and once they got their early goals – which we’re frustrated about – they banked in and denied us any space to pick our way through.
“We’re clearly disappointed with the result and the performance, but it wasn’t through lack of effort. You can never level that at our lads. They tried their hearts out and today it just didn’t click.”
Vale boss Darrell Clarke joked about the performance of star striker Proctor, who bagged a brace: “He scored two and then gave the ball away five or six times, so we’ve had a good laugh about that!
“I thought it was a thoroughly good disciplined performance. It was really pleasing.
“It’s early days, but we can use this as a springboard. We’re unbeaten in four now, but it looks much better with a win on the end of it. We have to use it as a catalyst now to move on.
“Defensively this was a structured performance. To a man, they were excellent defensively and they deserve all of the plaudits.
“I’m pleased for the football club and pleased for the players who have deserved a win before now.”
PICTURE GALLERY: Shane Healey/ Pro Sports Images
Proctor’s quick-fire first-half brace stunned leaders Forest Green and ended their winning start to the season.
Summer signing Proctor opened his league account for Vale in the sixth minute when he was fed by co-striker James Wilson to the right of goal and sent a twelve-yard side-footed effort into the far corner.
Three minutes later he grabbed his second.
Ben Garrity sent a low ball across the face of goal and keeper Luke McGee fumbled it into the path of Proctor who tapped in from close range.
Garrity should have added a third in the 53rd minute after darting into the area, but McGee did well to turn the midfielder’s low fourteen-yard strike past his left post.
Proctor came close to claiming a hat trick ten minutes later, but McGee pushed his low 22-yard shot behind.
League leaders Rovers looked out of sorts and only really threatened in the last five minutes when substitute Jake Young fired wide and skipper Jamille Matt nodded over.