Darrell Clarke was pleased with his side’s response to Crawley Town’s equaliser on the stroke of half time as second-half goals by Nathan Smith and David Worrall guided the Valiants to a 3-1 win at the People’s Pension Stadium.
Captain Tom Conlon opened the scoring inside 13 minutes with a well-hit low drive before a late first-half header by Ashley Nadesan levelled up the scoring.
However, this proved to not be a major setback for Vale, as a volley from Nathan Smith, shortly followed by a close-range strike by Worrall helped seal a third consecutive victory for the club.
After the game, Clarke revealed that he was particularly proud of his side’s performance in the second half after suffering the blow of conceding late on in the first period.
“That is great, I mean that is the most pleasing thing for me and in the changing room we were talking to them at half time, do not be mentally weak now just because they have got a lift before half time. Let’s make sure we go out there and go win the game.
“We have had to defend well at times, we have had to put together quite a few chances in the game, so I am really pleased with the three points.”
The win at Crawley marked Clarke’s tenth game in charge of Vale and he admitted that ever since he arrived, he cannot fault the effort and commitment that his players have shown.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the lads as things stand, but it is early days as a manager here so there is a hell of a lot of work to be done, but as for effort and commitment it has been outstanding since I have been in the door.
“We are starting to get our fitness levels up a little bit and we are starting to show a little bit of quality which is pleasing, but I am certainly not getting carried away.”
Smith’s 65th minute strike was his third goal of the season after netting on the road to both Oldham Athletic and Bolton Wanderers and Clarke said that it is pleasing to see the central defender return back to form.
“Smithy is a winner; he is a leader. I think he is back in form now which is pleasing. He has been at the club a long time and I think when you have been at a club a long time, you can get a little bit of undeserved stick at times and I think with Nathan he is a born winner.
“He is someone I am really pleased to be working with, so I am delighted that he got his goal."