Port Vale manager John Askey was impressed with the way his side stuck to their task in the 1-0 win over Plymouth.
The game looked to be heading for a draw until Vale defender Nathan Smith met Richie Bennett’s cross and headed the ball in from close range in the 76th minute.
Askey said: “We were always in the game and we know that we have the players capable of coming in and doing well.
“In previous games, we’ve fallen away a little bit, so this shows that our message is getting through because we kept pushing.
“We came up against a side like Plymouth and matched them.
“I thought in the second half we controlled the majority of the game and it could have gone either way, so I am really pleased.”
Plymouth, who are now without a win in three League Two games, had the better of the opening period, with Byron Moore’s effort parried by goalkeeper Scott Brown and then Danny Mayor hitting the ball inches wide.
Vale used all three of their substitutes within the opening 35 minutes when David Amoo, Tom Conlon and Callum Evans – who had replaced Conlon from the bench – were forced off through injury.
Vale upped the ante in the second half and took the game to Plymouth.
Centre-half Leon Legge went closest to breaking the deadlock for Vale, heading over the crossbar after a fine pass from David Worrall, moments after Cristian Montano drew a good save from Plymouth goalkeeper Alex Palmer.
Former Vale forward Moore and Mayor again went close for the visitors, as did on-loan Chelsea defender Josh Grant.
Vale struck the killer blow in the 76th minute, however, through Smith’s match-winning header.
Smith has now scored twice in five games – having previously gone 20 months without finding the back of the net.
Montano then missed a gilt-edged chance to kill the game, while Worrall’s effort from just inside the area was caught by Palmer.
But Smith’s strike proved to be enough for Vale, who remain unbeaten at home in the league so far this season.
Plymouth manager Ryan Lowe said: “It’s not good enough and it’s not acceptable, either.
“I thought we were very good in the first half, but we just needed to score when we were on top.
“The second half, we looked a little bit laboured and they didn’t do what we asked them to do.
“They go about it in the wrong way. I pick the team and I’ll take the criticism and we have to make sure we get things right.
“If we had scored first then the momentum would have been with us.”