Port Vale are up four places to 13th in League Two after a 3-0 win at home to Grimsby.
Shaun Brisley’s eighth minute strike, Devante Rodney’s 15th minute header and Luke Waterfall’s own goal on the hour saw Vale home as Danny Pugh got off to a flyer in his first game as interim manager.
Over to our fans’ panel for their verdict…
Andrew Blakemore: “The one thing that mattered was the result and we got it. To make it even better we got the result playing the way we know best. Wingers attacking full backs, balls into the box and chances put away.
“It was never going to be an easy contest given recent weeks and, prior to our opening goal, it felt like it might be one of those afternoons. But we attacked and defended as a team, and some standout performances, from David Worrall, back to his best, and Tom Pope, showing why he still has so much to offer when he has another striker with him.
“It won’t be like this every week; we know what this league is like. There will be some ups and downs as the search for a new manager continues. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we find a replacement for John Askey.
“Danny Pugh did the job today, he got the reaction we needed from the boys, and for the first time in what feels like forever, there is finally a positive result to see at Vale Park.”
Rob Rhead: “The Vale had to weather a bit of a storm in opening exchanges but showed more determination and fight in the first fifteen minutes than they have in the previous fifteen matches.
“As a result they took an early two-goal lead which, unlike previous occasions this season, they didn’t look like losing.
“The decision to go 4-4-2 would have been welcomed by most supporters and it paid off with Tom Pope and Devante Rodney playing off each other and benefitting from good work on the flanks by Alex Hurst and David Worrall who has been badly missed in recent games.
“The worry with playing just two in central midfield is that they could be overrun but the wide men tucked in and the forwards dropped back when needed.
“The first part of the second half, however, was like a typical Askey performance as Tom Pope was left isolated up front following Rodney’s withdrawal. Fortunately Grimsby weren’t up to much and the third goal came at the right time.”
Gary Gratton: “A welcome win. Great first half hour, passing, tackling and confidence was there. Second half was a damp squib but what do you expect when in control of the game. Grimsby are a poor side but saying that we’ve lost to worse than them so not getting carried away.”
Daniel Berrisford: “Great win. Back to basics with 4-4-2 and each player been told what their job is and what is expected. It’s a foundation to go and build on now for the rest of the season.
“We will have tougher challenges ahead but the perfect game today to build confidence going forward.”
Adam Benson: “Great game. All the players have improved and made an effort which hasn’t been the case in recent performances. We will see over the next couple of games if Pugh could be the man for the job, today was a great result though.”
Dave Cumberbatch: “It’s amazing what happens when the players put the effort in. What we lacked in quality at times we more than made up for in desire. We looked a little bit open through the middle playing 4-4-2 and even at 2-0 I didn’t feel confident of seeing the game out, but the change at half time sorted that.
“All in all a professional display from the lads and credit to the manager for freshing it up with substitutions.”
Tim Wainwright: “It’s very clear now that there was unrest in the dressing room.”
Scott Lingard: “What a refreshing change this week. Danny Pugh has done a great job, in fact the players as well deserve credit.
“I was worried that the lack of effort we have been showing would carry on today, but it was a flash back to Vale of old, digging in and working hard to win the points.
“What Pugh has done is played to our strengths. Get the ball into Pope and he will either score or, as he did today, lay off to Brisley to pop in into the net.
“The front line played havoc with the visitors back line, and a great ball from Worrall and a bullet header from Rodney put us 2-0 ahead.
“Burgess replaced what looked like an injured Rodney after the break, and I worried that this may not work, but we stuck at it and got a deserved third, which Popey would have buried if not for the Grimsby defender beating him to it and poking in to his own net. A great three points after the last few weeks. Have we turned the corner? I hope we have.”
Asa Postlethwaite: “A refreshing performance from Vale. Pugh and co had ensured we were well organised, we made good use of the bench, adapted tactically and most importantly, the players put a shift in and left it all out there on the pitch.
“Hurst in particular is looking like a great find, a joy to watch him on the ball!
“There’s still work to do, and we’re a long way off where we wanted to be this season, but after the past couple of months, it’s breath of fresh air!”
Richard Lockett: “A professional display and welcome three points, much more effort in the areas that matter. It give us some breathing space on the bottom two and something to build on.
“I thought it was more workmanlike than anything outstanding, Grimsby are a poor side and in trouble on that evidence but we’ve lost to similar teams recently in Barrow and Stevenage before that.
“Worrall probably man of the match for me and Pope had one of his much better games.”