Manny Oyeleke scored Vale's first goal of 2019 in spectacular style late on to salvage a point away to high-flying Lincoln City, and he insists it was the least he and his teammates deserved from the game.
Shay McCartan's second-half strike did seem as if it would be enough for the home side to prevail at Sincil Bank, but the Valiants' persistence paid off as they picked up their first point of the new year.
Having driven a similar effort against the crossbar just minutes before he found the net, Oyeleke was delighted to see his goal beat the goalkeeper and end up in the top corner, but he admits he wants to start getting his name on the scoresheet more regularly.
He said: “It was one of those that when I let go and struck it, it felt good. I was unlucky before that when I hit the crossbar, so I just wanted to hit the target and luckily it went in.
“The gaffer gave me more licence to go forward today and I don’t usually have that, but I knew I had a responsibility to get shots off and test the goalkeeper, and it was great to score because that’s something I want to do more."
Despite snatching the headlines due to his equaliser, the midfielder was pleased with the performance of the whole Vale team and he admits that the game plan worked to perfection against very tough opposition.
With the Valiants now facing a free weekend due to Newport County's progression in the Emirates FA Cup, Oyeleke is confident that the players will make the most of it as they look to build on the positive result earned against the Imps.
He said: “The result wasn’t bad at all and it’s nothing less than what we deserved. We played really well, and we limited them to set pieces, so for us to come to the league leaders and do that despite not being in the best of form was credit to ourselves.
“It’s good to have players in the team that have played in this type of environment before and it helps when they talk a lot. With that, we dominated the midfield area and we didn’t let Lincoln create anything through the middle.
“They had to force it out wide and get crosses in and that was our aim, so the game plan worked perfectly, and we deserved at least a point.
“My legs don’t want another game and I don’t mind having a little break because we’ve played a lot of games over Christmas, but it won’t damage us in terms of momentum and we can use this result as a platform now moving forward."