“There was a lot not right today. We’ve had it so right [recently] and we had it so right on Tuesday night but today is unexplainable – nobody saw the individual mistakes that we’ve made coming.
“But fair play to Port Vale. I thought they were very good and I thought their tactics were perfect, but we helped put ourselves to bed as much as Port Vale inflicted the pain upon us.
“It was very, very painful watching our players who have been so good make the mistakes that they’ve made today, but I’m a very, very forgiving person and I’ve got a forgiving nature.
“I’ve been really pleased with what we’ve produced since the turn of the year to get us from a potential relegation situation to what was, albeit, a very impossible challenge.
“We’ve been challenging to get into the play-offs but I think that has been put to bed today.”
The home side took a 2-0 lead into the break after scoring two goals late in the first half, courtesy of a wonderful strike from Theo Robinson and a Michael O’Connor penalty. JJ Hooper grabbed a third, while O’Connor netted from the spot for a second time to add another, either side of a stunner from substitute Calvin Andrew.
Hill believes Vale’s first penalty shouldn't have been awarded.
"The penalty before half-time isn’t a penalty. We’ve looked at it again and there’s no contact whatsoever. I don’t know how the referee decides that it’s a tackle from behind because there’s no tackle, I’ve just looked at it. It’s a fresh air shot and it’s difficult one to stomach.
"I don’t think we deserved much from the first half but 1-0 would have given me a lot more encouragement."
Hill made three substitutions at the break as Andrew, Henderson and Holt replaced Bunney, Camps and McDermott. The Gaffer says two of those changes were enforced.
"We took massive risks with the substitutions that we made at half time. We knew we were going to be even more vulnerable and the score could have been five or six, as a consequence of the substitutions that we made.
"We’ve got a little bit of dizziness from Callum Camps – I had to take him off and Donal McDermott had a dead-leg and wasn’t able to continue. I deliberated about the decision I had to make and sometimes you win, but sometimes you lose.
"Calvin Andrew has scored a great goal but the team and I are looking for him to score that goal when we’re 2-0 down, not 3-0 down.
“I’m disappointed with today and the implosion individually. We can’t do that – we’ve all got to be at our best, and if not we're not all at our best, then at least eight out of the 11."
The full interview is on Dale PlayerHD.