Three points, two goals and the long awaited return of a much-loved player. Little wonder Sheffield United seemed mighty satisfield with their afternoon’s work.
Okay, as Micky Adams was quick to remind, Port Vale spent the majority of this contest toiling away with 10 men.
But, having seen his team haul themselves off the bottom of the table courtesy of a deserved and much-needed win, interim manager Chris Morgan was not about to let such details spoil the moment.
Only a superb save from Chris Neal prevented the player in question - Shaun Miller - from ensuring the afternoon finished on a fairytale note.
The former Crewe Alexandra centre-forward’s first appearance on the team sheet since rupturing a cruciate ligament in December coincided with his team’s first win in League One competition for more than two months.
Given that Michael Doyle scored the goal which ended the visitors’ challenge after Adam Yates’ fortuitious effort had cancelled out Neill Collins’ opener, Miller’s contribution was not the most significant. It was, however, the best received.
“The reception from the fans when I came on was brilliant,” Miller, who entered the fray as a second-half substitute, said. “I’m not going to deny it’s been really tough at times but that made it all worthwhile.
“I’m not the best at watching from the stands, especially when things haven’t been going that well. You just want to get out there on the pitch so you can try and help.
“So, speaking personally, just to actually be involved again feels brilliant. But what’s even more important - and feels even better - is the result.”
A firebrand during his playing days, Morgan has nevertheless proved an astute and deep-thinking coach since taking charge on a caretaker basis earlier this month.
Together with assistant Mick Wadsworth, who arrived at Bramall Lane on Thursday morning, his efforts here underlined why David Weir’s successor would be well-advised to find prominent roles for both should United’s hierarchy press ahead with their plans to appoint from outside the club.
Lyle Taylor appears a player reborn following his recent brace against Coventry City, Febian Brandy caused Vale all manner of problems with his darting runs along the flanks while Ryan Flynn looked like the player United thought they had signed two years ago.
With Collins and Doyle providing the substance which allowed United’s more creative elements to flourish, the scoreline was a fair reflection of how Saturday’s match unfolded, although Adams, who spent five frustrating months in charge of the hosts before departing after failing to prevent them sliding into English football’s third tier, should be credited for the way he organised his troops.
“I’ve got a good relationship with Morgs,” Miller continued. “Because he’s usually the coach of our under-21s, we’ve worked closely together during the final stages of my rehabilitation.
“It wasn’t a surprise when he told me that I was going to be on the team sheet. I’ve had a few run-outs for the reserves now and he also kept asking how I felt and if everything was fine.
“Officially, though, he informed me on Thursday that I’d probably be involved and ever since then I couldn’t wait.”
“When I first got injured, I didn’t actually realise how serious it was,” Miller continued. “Of course, you do worry a bit that you might never be able to play again. When you have your operation it’s always there in the back of your mind about what could happen if it goes wrong because nothing is ever guaranteed.
“But fortunately everything went really well and they tell you now that it’s possible your knee is even stronger and better than ever after work like this.
“The lads in the treatment room have kept me going, Morgs has been great too.”
Morgan’s programme notes underlined the importance of making a positive start and United obliged when, having seen Taylor, Tony McMahon and Harry Maguire go close, Collins directed a header in off the post from Stephen McGinn’s corner.
Vale, who had earlier seen Maguire hack a Lee Hughes attempt off the line, received another setback when Jones collected his second yellow card for a scything challenge on Flynn and ill discipline began to spread through their ranks when Jennison Myrie-Williams, who was substituted during the ensuing reshuffle, exchanged words with Adams as he made his way off the pitch.
Jones, a member of the Sheffield Wednesday squad which effectively denied United a place in the Championship last year, could have no complaints about his red card as Adams later acknowledged.
“Perhaps Daniel was a little bit too fired up because of who he was playing against and where he was,” he said. “I don’t know.
“What I do, though, is that nobody gets angry with me because I’m the boss. I think Jennison was just showing his passion and his disappointment because he’s not long been back in the 11 so I can forgive that.”
“I’m not happy because we put ourselves under pressure and if we’d kept 11 men out there then I’m sure we’d have gone on to win. That’s because Sheffield United are not a good side. That’s not sour grapes. I just don’t think the squad they’ve got at the moment is good enough.”
Scoring goals has been the root cause of United’s problems so far this term and so Morgan, who understandably takes a different view, will have been encouraged by the volume of opportunities they created against obstinate opponents.
United have now claimed twice as many in two outings under his tutelage than they did in their previous nine games.
Taylor, who later drew a memorable block from Neal with an impudent flick, tested the St Albans born goalkeeper’s reactions from Matt Hill’s centre while Maguire also warmed his gloves before Yates’ cross looped home at the far post.
Doyle, though, restored United’s advantage after Flynn and McMahon had combined before Miller’s shot on the turn was parried away to safety.
“It would have been great if that had gone in,” Miller said.
“Being realistic, although I’m fit, I’m probably not going to be firing on all cylinders until around Christmas. But, in the meantime, I’m just going to help out all I can and hopefully start chipping in with a few goals.”