Vale’s winning run was extended to five games after a solid performance in tough conditions with David Worrall and Kurtis Guthrie getting on the scoresheet. That was Guthrie’s first goal in a Vale shirt and he’ll be eyeing up the chance to increase his goal tally before the end of the season.
The Valiants had to deal with some early pressure in the first half but Scott Brown was up to the task, coming up with several smart stops to deny the hosts from taking the lead. Devante Rodney had the best chance of the first half, his close-range shot was dealt with well by James Belshaw in the Harrogate goal.
Vale had much more of the ball in the second half and were quick to make it count as Worrall got the opener on 48 minutes with a half volley that was smashed into the net. Guthrie killed the game a minute from time with a curled effort from the left-hand side into the opposite corner.
Darrell Clarke was pleased with the three points but made it clear that the performance was not a classic which was partly due to the conditions his side had to deal with.
“The conditions were awful. It was a shocking game, ruined by the elements. The pitch is not great but like I said last week you’ve got to find ways to win games in League Two and we did that. We weathered a little bit of a storm first half, Browny has had to make a couple of saves and then we’ve added that little bit of quality second half.
“I say to my players ‘win any way you can, find ways of winning football games’ it’s a good habit to get into. For us it’s another win and another clean sheet so I’m proud of my players. Six games left, my remit was to come in and change the environment and to stay in League Two so to get 50 points now with six games to go, we can enjoy the next six but we want that run to continue."
It is the club’s best winning run since September 2010 but Clarke was keen to stress that he will never get carried away with the form the team is displaying at the moment.
“We have got to enjoy (this form), I said to the players ‘I think it’s like 11 years since the club has won five (successive) league games’ so they’ve got to enjoy that, the staff have got to enjoy that but we also know we’re back at it again. Ready to try and get another win at Morecambe at home on Saturday.
“Obviously when you come into a building that’s lacking confidence, lacking a little bit of direction. Little bit of uneasiness about the place with a lot of professionals, it’s never easy but I said from day one the slate’s clean, the lads have been working hard for me. The subs are making an impact today Kurtis comes on and makes that input, everyone’s training hard."
It was Theo Robinson who got his first goal under Clarke on Good Friday and now it was Guthrie’s turn against Harrogate and the boss went onto speak about how big a goal that was for his confidence.
“He’ll be really pleased, he hit a great one just before that but for me strikers obviously get weighed down on goals and I know certainly supporters want to see the strikers scoring goals so does the manager”.
“For me it’s the work ethic of the team as an 11 and the lads coming on making sure that the work ethic, the desire to win football games is in there and at the minute it’s there in abundance”.