Bradford, who had strong winds and driving rain at their backs in the first period, were denied a 24th-minute lead by a brilliant save by Arjan Van Heusden. Lee Duxbury met Ian Moore's pass with a goal-bound shot, but Van Heusden flew to his right to palm the ball to safety.
The visitors were to rue their profligacy in the 37th minute when they effectively handed Port Vale the lead. Nicky Mohan's poor back-pass left Eric Nixon stranded and Steve Guppy had the simple task of stroking the ball into an empty net.
Port Vale, devoid of confidence before the goal, grew in stature as Andy Porter struck the bar and had a close-range effort deflected for a corner.
Bradford used all three substitutes within 10 minutes of the start of the second half and took control, with the veteran Gordon Cowans marshalling the game from midfield. However, they produced little threat in the final third until Carl Shutt fired wide from Erik Regtop's astute pass in the 77th minute.
n Elton John's record company has dismissed reports that the millionaire pop star is preparing purchase Watford for pounds 6m from Jack Petchey, the owner who bought the club from him for pounds 900,000 six years ago. "Elton is not interested in buying back Watford," a spokeswoman said yesterday. "He is still a fan of the club, of course, but feels it would be a mistake to go back. There have been no negotiations."
Goals: Guppy (37) 1-0; Jacobs (83) 1-1.
Port Vale: Van Heusden; Hill, Tankard (Talbot, 52), Bogie (Walker, 66), Aspin, Glover, McCarthy, Porter, Mills (Foyle 79), Naylor, Guppy.
Bradford City: Nixon; Liburd, Jacobs, Cowans, Mohan, Sas, Hamilton (Kiwomya, h-t), Duxbury, Moore, Stallard (Shutt, 55), Mitchell (Regtop, h-t).
Booking: Bradford City: Liburd.
Referee: S Mathieson (Stockport).
Man of the match: Cowans.
Attendance: 4,706.Reuse content