Despite Vale falling to defeat away at Swindon Town on Saturday afternoon, Neil Aspin insists that he saw positives which can be taken into the rest of the Sky Bet League Two campaign.
The Valiants did lead early on as Michael Tonge swept a finish home, but the home side overcame the deficit to lead before Cristian Montano equalised before half-time.
However, it wasn’t to be for Aspin’s men as they conceded with two minutes left to play, Paul Mullin netting the decisive goal. The manager was left disappointed on the final whistle, and he knows his team must stop making mistakes.
He said: “We’ve had two away games and scored three goals which is not a bad return, yet we have conceded eight and I would have to say seven of those have been down to mistakes - another two today.
“It was bad defending for their first goal and a mistake for the second one, but the third was very unfortunate and there’s not a lot you can do about that.
“We need to cut out those individual errors to give ourselves any chance, but I saw enough fight and determination to give me hope that we are going to get a result to turn things around.
“It was a big improvement from last week, but it would have been difficult for there not to be an improvement from that game.
“If you had watched the game today, you would say that there was nothing between the two sides even though you’ve got one pushing to get in the play-offs, and one fighting relegation.”
Aspin was quick to praise the character of his players after the game and he believes that their determination to succeed will see them halt the winless run.
He said: “If you’ve got no fight and the players are just going to accept things, you are going to get relegated, it’s as simple as that.
“But after getting a real kick in the teeth with the second goal today, we got back on level terms and you didn’t know which way it was going to go in the second half - we were well in the game.
“At the moment we are just not getting a break, but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves because we are making the mistakes that are costing us points.
“You can work on shape during the week, you can prepare the team in terms of what you are going to be up against, but once the players go on the pitch it is down to them.
“We are in their hands, the whole club is too and they have got to eradicate those errors to give us any chance of winning games.”
With Newport County up next on home soil, the manager has stressed the importance of every game from now until the end of the season, but he acknowledges that Vale Park must become a fortress.
Their last league defeat in Burslem came back in November as promotion-chasing Mansfield Town sealed all three points, and Aspin is keen to continue that record with victory next time out.
“I think we all know the importance of all the home games that we have, and without putting them under massive pressure for that one game, the key to our survival is going to be how many points we can pick up at home,” he said.
“They are all going to be tough games, but there are some positives that we need to take into next week. Nobody is going to give us anything.
“Today we conceded a late goal and we also picked up three injuries so everything is going against us, but we have got to keep going and make sure that it turns.”