John Askey’s praised the character of his team as they inflicted Salford’s first league defeat of the season in a hard-fought game at Vale Park.
Cristian Montano’s 86th minute volley separated the teams, leaving Askey to reflect on a 1-0 victory that lifts his side to eighth.
Even if they hadn’t won, he would have been pleased with his team’s efforts as they responded to back to back 1-0 league defeats, at home to Carlisle and at Morecambe.
He said: “What I was pleased about was the determination they showed. They really battled hard. It is not easy when you have lost a couple, and also are playing against a really good team.
“It is what we needed.”
Vale weren’t at their flowing best going forward but were up against the pre-season title favourites.
But Scott Brown saved Ian Henderson’s first half penalty and made another fine stop to deny James Wilson after the break to ensure Montano’s late goal was enough.
Askey said: “If you are not winning then everything is wrong isn’t it? You win and you might not have done everything right but everyone is happy.
“It puts us in a decent position now and hopefully we can follow that up. But as long as they work as hard as that and show that determination then we won’t go far wrong.”
He added: “Nobody is going to walk away with the league, I don’t think. There isn’t that much difference, as we saw here. Salford probably have the best players in the league but at the moment they are not quite firing.
“It’s going to be tough but hopefully we can achieve something come the end of season. But I have never known football run smoothly yet!”
Vale were only able to field six players on the bench because of injuries. Alex Hurst would have been a substitute but is having to isolate because he has come into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
Vale return to action on Tuesday when they are away to Cambridge who are top of the league after a 5-0 win at Scunthorpe.