Fleetwood boss Micky Mellon put his side's thumping 5-2 home defeat against Port Vale down to a poor all-round performance - and not the fact he rested star defender Youl Mawene.
The two high-flying sides looked well matched in the opening exchanges but it soon became clear Vale were going to score. Tom Pope and Ashley Vincent fired the visitors into a two-goal lead which was halved by Junior Brown before the break, but a further effort from Pope and a brace from Louis Dodds put Vale firmly in control before Steven Gillespie's consolation from the spot.
"I'm not going to take anything away from Port Vale, they were the better side," Mellon said.
"Youl has been great for us and he came to training on Monday like he had rigor mortis. We've a squad of players here and I've no regrets about leaving him out.
"We simply didn't get any of the basics right. Despite that I thought we played some good football at times and made some good chances that were saved by the 'keeper and came off the bar."
Vale manager Micky Adams was delighted with his side's emphatic performance - but fancies his battered opponents will still be at the top end of the table come the end of the season.
He said: "We never expected a result like this from here. Fleetwood are a good side. At certain stages of the match we didn't feel safe or comfortable.
"I'm not worried about league tables at the moment - and when I do at the end of the season I think we'll see Fleetwood there or thereabouts.
"But we looked like we caused them problems every time we went forward.
"After a result like that I don't want to nit pick, But we sometimes left ourselves open at the back. If we manage to do that, we'll have a good season."