Cristian Montano’s beautiful 86th minute strike secured all three-points for Vale, after beating Salford 1-0 at Vale Park, inflicting a first league defeat of the season for Paul Scholes’ team.
Scott Brown saved a first-half penalty from Ian Henderson before the Salford striker missed the rebound, to preserve Vale’s clean sheet and impressive defensive record of only conceding two goals in their Sky Bet League Two campaign so far.
After an even start, it was the Valiants who created the first half-chance of the game, after Devante Rodney’s shot at goal was blocked by a Salford body, before a scramble in the box led to Nathan Smith’s deflected effort falling kindly into Vaclav Hladky’s hands.
It took 11 minutes for Salford to test Scott Brown, with Ash Hunter’s whipped effort from just outside the box being comfortably saved by the Vale stopper.
Five minutes later, Cristian Montano’s driving run through the middle of the park caused the Ammies’ defence problems, but he could only fire his effort straight into the hands of Hladky.
With 22 minutes gone, Smith had another opportunity to give Vale the lead, but his well struck effort from outside the box sailed over Hladky’s crossbar, during a good period of dominance for Vale.
It was then time for Montano’s second chance at goal, this time his curling effort from outside the box being tipped over the bar by Hladky, with Vale now perhaps feeling unfortunate to not be ahead with just over a quarter of the game gone.
Montano continued to terrify the Salford defence, and after weaving in and out of two Salford defenders, he set up Danny Whitehead for an effort from outside the box, but his shot flew over the bar.
But after 36 minutes it was Salford who had a golden chance to take the lead, when Leon Legge was adjudged to have brought down Ian Henderson in the box, with James Adcock awarding the penalty.
But Brown stood firm and saved Henderson’s penalty before the Salford striker fired over the bar on the rebound, with the game still locked at 0-0.
Whitehead had a really good chance to give Vale the lead on the half-time whistle, but Jordan Turnbull got himself in front of the midfielder’s effort to secure the clash was goalless at half-time.
Salford created the first opportunity of the second-half after 48 minutes when Ian Henderson laid the ball off to the overlapping Ibou Touray, but Leon Legge covered brilliantly in a two on one situation, before blocking the ball out for a corner-kick.
But as in the first half, Vale began to dominate the game and Nathan Smith had a third chance put Vale ahead, heading Whitehead’s cross into the box over the bar.
The game was brought to a lengthy stoppage when Salford midfielder Darron Gibson seemed to go down without contact, with a stretcher required for the former Manchester United midfielder.
With 70 minutes gone, David Worrall pulled the ball back to Whitehead, but his effort was parried wide by Hladky for a Vale corner.
But it was at the other end of the pitch where the next piece of action occurred three minutes later, when James Wilson’s header from point-blank range from six-yards was wonderfully saved by Brown before Vale cleared to keep the scores level, going into the final fifteen minutes.
With six minutes of normal time remaining, Whitehead received the ball just outside the box, before cutting on to his left foot and firing an effort just over the bar.
And Vale’s pressure finally told with just four minutes of normal time remaining, when David Worrall headed the ball into the path of Cristian Montano’s who half-volleyed effort was beautifully fired into the top-left hand corner of the net, to give Vale a late lead.
Despite a late onslaught of Salford pressure, the Valiants saw out the win and secured a well-deserved three points, ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Cambridge United.
Port Vale: Brown, Clark, Smith, Legge, Fitzpatrick, Joyce, Conlon, Whitehead (Brisley 90+4’), Worrall, Montano, Rodney (Robinson 78’).
Unused subs: Visser, Crookes, Burgess, Pope.
Salford City: Hladky, Golden, Eastham, Touray, Lowe, Turnbull, Gibson (Denny 68’), Andrade (Asante 59’), Hunter, Wilson, Henderson.
Unused subs: Evans, Clarke, Threlkeld, Armstrong, Elliott.