Page left purring by a sturdy Vale show

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Leigh Curtis

BOSS Rob Page saluted his miserly Port Vale de­fence as their third suc­ces­sive clean sheet helped pave the way for a priceless victory at Notts County.

Mark Mar­shall had given the vis­i­tors the lead in the sev­enth minute when he lobbed into an empty net af­ter a hor­ri­ble mix-up be­tween goal­keeper Roy Car­roll and de­fender Mike Ed­wards.

From then on, Notts cre­ated plenty of chances with Chris Neal sav­ing from Paddy McCourt on two oc­ca­sions while Liam Noble and Garry Thomp­son also spurned op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Vale weath­ered the storm and in the end com­fort­ably held out for a victory which keeps their play­off hopes alive.

“It’s three wins in a row and that was a big per­for­mance,” said Page.

“It was the most com­plete I have seen since I took over.

“We knew we would be un­der pres­sure for large spells of the game, but knew we had the qual­ity to hurt them, which we proved in the end.

“Ryan In­nis has come in on loan and we’ve had three clean sheets.

“He has been a big part of that de­fen­sive form, of course, but I don’t want to take credit away from the rest of the lads be­cause from front to back it’s a real team ef­fort.

“There is a real work ethic and a de­sire to work for each other.

“We de­fended out­stand­ingly against Notts. We know we can hurt teams it was just a ques­tion, away from home, of keep­ing clean sheets.

“Don’t get me wrong we were un­der the cosh for a spell in the first half, but I knew we would be un­der pres­sure at some point in the game.”

Af­ter a stunning start to the sea­son in which Notts rose to third in the league, they are now just three points ahead of the drop zone.

But manager Shaun Derry main­tains he won’t be chang­ing too much af­ter see­ing his side cre­ate chances thanks to McCourt’s abil­ity.

“I can’t say any­thing other than I saw what the 5,000 fans saw,” he said.

“They saw a team dom­i­nate from the first minute to the 45th, but we con­ceded a very sloppy goal. “We strug­gled at times to break down a res­o­lute back line and it was the story of the game.

“We had three great chances to score in the first half and I would only be wor­ried if we were not cre­at­ing any.

“The lead up to them was fan­tas­tic to watch too and, at times this sea­son, it’s been dogged to watch.

“But then we were win­ning games. I want us to win ugly.We have to get re­sults, that’s what we are in the game for.

“But we just have to keep go­ing and keep do­ing what we have been be­cause I do be­lieve it will turn for us.”

STAR MAN PADDY McCOU

RT Notts

County

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