David Artell was a delighted manager as Crewe Alexandra extended their unbeaten start to the season with a 1-0 win at Vale Park. Chris Dagnall headed the only goal of the game on the half-an-hour mark to seal the three points for the Railwaymen.
Credit to Port Vale who gave it a real go in the second half after introducing Rekeil Pyke in the second half, but their task was made even harder after Michel Tonge was shown a straight red card after catching George Cooper with a high challenge before half-time.
Following the 1-0 win, Artell told the club’s official web-site: “We have shown that we have got a bit about us. I thought we thoroughly deserved it. They had one real chance where Tom has hit the crossbar and there was a bit of a scramble but other than I cannot remember too many goalmouth situations.
“They huffed and puffed in the second half but we were resolute and stood up to it. The lads at the back showed that grit and resilience and I’ve told them that the goals against column will define us this season because we will score goals.
“The crowd didn’t think it was a red card but in my eyes it was a bad challenge and a straight red card. I think it was a red card because he has caught him.
“We could have scored more than one but I’m not going to be overly critical because we have remained unbeaten. We have not lost in four games. It is two clean-sheets on the bounce and two wins, so I am a happy manager.
“They are becoming men at such a young age. The lads in midfield are all teenagers or 20. Cooper is young. Brad is 22. Garratt is a veteran at 23 but they are developing that character to win games. “
On the match winner, Daggers, Artell said: “We showed Daggers his positions and how he was playing a bit deep. He knows that he gets his goals by getting in the box. He got in there again and George has found him again. As I’ve said before, Dags is the League Two Michael Owen.
“The away fans were great for us and I hope they have a great weekend. I hope they go into work on Monday proud as punch to be a Crewe fan. I’m a fan. Crewe is the best club that I’ve worked for in my career and I want us to do well. I appreciate what the fans do for us and making them happy is one of my top priorities.”