As part of a back four who have nullified the threat of opposition attacks expertly over the recent weeks, Adam Crookes admits that conceding inside the opening two minutes cost Vale at Exeter City on Saturday.
Despite being aggravated by the award of the penalty that Nicky Law converter, the defender insists he and his teammates needed to do more to impose themselves on proceedings following the early setback.
He said: “Everyone knows that we started poorly when we gave a questionable penalty away. We’ve watched it back and we didn’t think it was a foul, but to start a game like that is never good.
“That put us on the back foot early on and it was always going to be an uphill climb from there.
“Hiram Boateng has pulled a worldie out of the bag for the second goal, but we could’ve got tighter to him. Fair play for the finish, but we needed to give ourselves a chance to stay in the game.”
The defeat at St James’ Park was the Valiants’ first on the road since February when they fell to a 1-0 loss away to Cheltenham Town, and Crookes is keen to remember the upturn in results.
John Askey has guided Vale away from the relegation places in Sky Bet League Two and one more win would secure safety, so with two games coming up in the matter of four days over the Easter weekend, Crookes wants to take advantage of that.
He said: “We’ve been doing well recently and if you looked at the form table we were third coming into this game. As professionals we want to win every match, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
“We’re all disappointed, but we’ve just got to sit down and go through things to see where we can improve.
“Every game is a learning experience and you probably take more from losses, but we’ve done well recently. To lose today was frustrating, but hopefully we can put things right next week.
“It’s nice to have two games coming up in quick succession, but we need to get back to what we’ve been doing in the last few weeks and put this one behind us.”