Port Vale climbed to ninth in League Two courtesy of a David Worrall header that secured a vital 1-0 win at playoff-chasing rivals Northampton Town to cap off a “perfect week.”
Tom Conlan cut inside from the left and whipped in a curled cross to the back post where Worrall darted in the ghost behind Scott Wharton in the Cobblers’ defence to head home from close range in the 72nd minute.
Vale boss John Askey, who celebrated his first anniversary as manager of Port Vale this week, heaped praise on the 29 year-old winger as well as his resolute defence on keeping a clean sheet despite blustery weather conditions.
He said: “David [Worrall]’s done well coming into this whole process. He’s absolutely great and we need our wide men scoring as well as our centre forwards.
“Scott [Brown] was tremendous today in goal but I thought Shaun [Brisley] and [Leon] Legge were excellent but overall it was a great team performance.”
Brown made a plethora of athletic saves to help his side claim their fourth away win of the season, most notably tipping Sam Hoskins’ ferocious right-footed half-volley from the edge of the box over the bar eleven minutes after the interval.
The Wolverhampton-born goalkeeper rescued the visitors 13 minutes from time as he leapt across his goal to acrobatically parry away a powerful right-footed volley from the edge of the box courtesy of substitute Sam Warburton.
The Cobblers’ second half onslaught was facilitated by a combination of strong headwinds and long throw-ins from skipper Charlie Goode, but commanding aerial defending from Legge and Brisley nullified the home side’s threats.
Worrall, who signed a contract extension until 2022 earlier this week, sealed the victory to ensure that only goal difference separates the Valiants from the playoff positions after an impressive run in which 13 points have been collected from their last six games.
The Manchester-born winger said: “I’m absolutely over the moon, it’s been a perfect week from Monday to today.
“To win games like that – if we do that more often than not then you’re going to be in the playoffs or pushing for promotion.”
Port Vale have already scored more goals this season (40) in the league than last year (39) but could have opened the scoring after just three minutes after Brown’s long ball was chased down by a tenacious Worrall who dragged his half-volley effort wide.
Northampton boasted having the second best home record in the division prior to today but Port Vale will hope they will continue to upset teams on the road and continue their playoff push when they head to Forest Green on Tuesday.