Whilst club captain Chris Dagnall and the key assist-maker George Cooper may have made all the headlines for conjuring up the only goal of the game at Vale Park on Saturday, the Alex boss David Artell was quick to praise the contribution of his back three.
Artell hailed summer signing Eddie Nolan as ‘absolutely magnificent’ and praised the temperament of youngsters Brad Walker and Perry Ng in dealing with Port Vale’s main threat, Tom Pope.
Their resilience at the back under some Port Vale pressure in the second half meant it was a second successive clean-sheet and another three points.
Artell told the club’s official web-site: “I thought Eddie Nolan was absolutely magnificent for us. We brought in him in the summer as a ‘steady Eddie’ but he has been a lot more than that. He has been terrific.
“The back three were terrific on Saturday up against Tom Pope, who was their best player. He is always a handful, nearly as much as Chris Porter was up against Nathan Smith.
“The one real chance they had with Tom’s header, Ben has managed to get his finger tip on it to put it against the bar and then we showed our bravely to keep it out. Perry has thrown himself into a header and then Eddie has got it off the line.
The Alex boss: “Those key moments define you as a team and as a defence. They deserved the clean-sheet and other than that isolated incident, if I am being honest, I didn’t feel that threatened in the game. They had some pressure but they didn’t conjure up too many chances.”