Goals from Tom Conlon, Nathan Smith and David Worrall were enough to earn Port Vale a deserved three points on the road over Crawley Town, a third consecutive win in the league for the first time since October.
Vale started the game brightly and had a golden opportunity to take the lead with just four minutes on the clock, Manny Oyeleke won the ball in the centre of the park and threaded a perfectly weighted through ball to Theo Robinson, whose first effort was saved well before he failed to get a clean connection on the rebound.
The hosts fired back with a chance of their own, when David Sesay let fly from the edge of the area but his low, hard effort went wide of Scott Brown’s post.
The exciting early proceedings rolled on in the sixth minute when Devante Rodney was out wide and spotted Glenn Morris off his line and attempted an audacious dinked effort that the keeper was forced to tip over the bar for a corner.
Vale dominated the opening 10 minutes of action and were rewarded for their efforts with 12 minutes on the clock, as the Valiants were relentless in their pressure, sending ball after ball into the area, David Worrall’s delivery was headed clear but only as far as an arriving Tom Conlon who drilled a venomous half-volley into the bottom right corner from outside the area.
Darrell Clarke’s side thought they had doubled their lead instantly, when Theo Robinson poked home into an open net after a squared pass from Manny Oyeleke, but it was ruled out for an offside call.
Crawley began to work their way back into the game, but could only conjure up half-chances, with the best being a curling effort from Sesay that failed to hit the target, with the Red Devils having a shout for a penalty after a potential foul on Sesay waved away by the referee soon after.
The Valiants again took control of the encounter once again and looked to double their lead. With 10 minutes left of the half the ball fell to Worrall 30-yards out and he hit a first time effort but it flew high of the target, with Robinson delivering a dangerous, low ball across the face of goal that was met only by a defender soon after.
Crawley drew level at the death of the first period, sending a ball into the Vale area that was met by a Ashley Nadesan glancing header that found its way past Brown and into the far corner of the net.
There was a wait until almost the hour mark for the first major chance of the second-half, but it went Vale’s way when it came, Robinson rising highest to flick a header towards goal, it beat the keeper but was denied by the upright of the woodwork to keep the game level.
Five minutes later Vale had a penalty shout denied by the official, Rodney headed towards goal from a corner and it was blocked by a defender for another corner, but the attacking players felt as though the ball had been blocked by an arm.
The feelings of anger soon became feelings of joy for Darrell Clarke and his team, as from the resulting corner a loose ball was brought under control by Nathan Smith who drilled it across goal with his second touch and found the bottom left corner, restoring the Vale’s lead.
That lead was nearly increased soon after, with the ball somehow not ending up in the Crawley net after multiple dangerous crosses and the hosts failing to clear their lines.
Vale went close again from another corner in the 70th minute, when Shaun Brisley had his header cleared off the line, before it broke to Conlon whose hit from 35-yards troubled the keeper, with the strike punched clear.
The constant pressure paid off in the 75th minute, as confusion at the back saw Joe McNerney head the ball over his own keeper, with Worrall the most alert and quickest to react, stealing the ball and passing into the open net from as tight angle.
Port Vale: Brown, Montano ((88‘ Olagunju), Legge, Smith, Brisley, Worrall, Joyce, Oyeleke, Conlon (90’ Amoo) , Rodney, Robinson (80’ Guthrie).
Unused Subs: Cullen, Taylor, Hurst, Scott.
Crawley Town: Morris, Francomb, McNerney, Powell, Nadesan, Nichols, Sesay (68’ Tsaroulla), Craig, Maguire-Drew (65’ Allarakhia), Tilley (68’ Matthews), Hessenthaler.
Unused Subs: Nelson, Davies, Wright.