Neil Aspin was left feeling mixed emotions following Saturday's goalless draw at Macclesfield Town, but he insists that any point away from home must be seen as a positive as Vale head into a hectic schedule over the festive period.
Despite Sol Campbell's newly inherited Silkmen sitting at the foot of Sky Bet League Two, they were in good form ahead of the weekend's clash and the Vale boss admits he was always expecting a difficult encounter.
In a game of limited chances for both sides, Aspin was frustrated that his more attacking players were not able to influence proceedings as much as he would have liked, but he praised the work rate of his squad.
He said: “It was a hard-earned point. Macclesfield started well and certainly in the first half, they were on the front foot, moving the ball quite well for a spell.
“Our goalkeeper has had to make a great save to keep us in the game, but we improved in the second half despite not making a lot of clear-cut chances, and there wasn’t many in the game.
“It’s not bad form and it’s not great form, so we would like to have played better. People can look and say we should be winning against teams lower than us in the division, but there are no easy games.
“The last few fixtures have shown that, but I can’t fault the players in terms of effort and commitment. I can say that the quality wasn’t good enough though.
“Passing of the ball wasn’t good enough and neither was decision making at times, so I’m fully aware, but away points against any teams in this league are important ones."
One man who proved his worth once again was goalkeeper, Scott Brown. He pulled off a superb double save do deny Macclesfield during the first half, and Aspin was thankful that the 33-year-old was on hand to produce those heroics.
The manager was also pleased with the overall defensive performance, particularly those of Nathan Smith and Leon Legge, as Vale recorded their ninth clean sheet of the Sky Bet League Two campaign.
“In front of our supporters, it was a great save from Scott Brown and he’s endeared himself to them because he’s done well this season," Aspin stated.
“Our full-backs could’ve done better at times, but the two centre-halves battled and I thought Nathan Smith had a great game.
“Leon Legge was tested aerially, but he was up for the challenge and I can’t fault the central two in terms of their efforts.
“We knew that the supporters would turn out in force for today’s game, so we were desperate to do well and we wanted to win.
“It’s also so important that you don’t lose them too. There will be people who will be disappointed because we haven’t got three points, but a point away from home isn’t bad.”