Page left purring by a sturdy Vale show
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