ButVale soon responded in a wide open and physical contest with Tom Pope failing to hit the target with two close-range headers.
Bradford left-back James Meredith scuffed an intended backpass and Hughes nipped in to round McLaughlin and slot the ball into an unguarded net.
The visitors equalised in the 59th minute after a brilliant piece of skill by Nahki Wells, who fired in the loose ball from two yards after his initial effort was saved.
But Vale's winner arrived seven minutes later when Loft struck a 20-yard shot from Hughes' lay-off and the ball took a deflection to beat McLaughlin high inside his left-hand post.
- Sports & Recreation
- Lee Hughes
- Jon McLaughlin
- Adam Yates