Port Vale leapt out of the relegation zone on Saturday with a huge 2-0 win over the travelling AFC Wimbledon.
Wimbledon travelled to Vale Park off the back of a midweek victory over Rochdale and were looking for a similar result than the one in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season, when the Wombles were 4-0 victors over Vale towards the end of 2016.
A stellar performance from Chris Eagles helped Vale to a much-needed win, scoring a stunning solo effort and providing the cross for Nathan Smith to grab his fifth goal of the season.
Goal scorer and defender Nathan Smith spoke exclusively to Valiant PlayerHD after the game about the result: “It was a big win for us. We went into it knowing that if we won then we had a chance of coming out of the bottom four, and we have done that.
“Everyone is delighted in the changing room and now we need to kick on and go again.”
place and two points from the drop zone. However, Smith is not getting carried away with their league position: “thVale have not only jumped out of the relegation zone, but gained ground on the table above as they slid into 18It is very tight down there so we can’t ponder on it too much, but it is a great win. Tuesday is the priority now and hopefully we can go and another three points.”
During the win, Vale kept their second clean sheet in two games, and the 21-year old is hoping that this could be a solid base for the squad to push on: “It has been a while since we have kept a few clean sheets and that is definitely a positive for me and the rest of the lads at the back.
“It is something that we can build on and it gives us a lot of confidence, and hopefully we can do the same on Tuesday.”
Vale’s return to defensive form was aided by the acquisition of Andre Bikey, and Smith recognises the Cameroonian’s contribution: “He is a good person to play alongside, he has a wealth of knowledge because he has been there and done it already.”
“He keeps us chatting throughout the whole game, and helps you concentrate when maybe you’re not doing as much as usual. There is a lot that I can learn from him”, he added.
The Valiants head to Spotland tomorrow night to face a Rochdale side who are searching for a play-off spot.
Smith goes into the game with emphasis on the team’s defensive capabilities rather than their attacking prowess: “Any point earned away is a good point, and hopefully we can go there and earn all three.”
He continues: “But first and foremost it is about form and we will go there looking to get a clean sheet, and if we do that we will come away with at least a point.”