MICKY Adams has revealed a a half-time pep talk was the key to Port Vale’s 3-0 win over 10-man Accrington.
Lee Hughes scored twice after the interval on his home debut after the visitors saw Charlie Barnett sent off in the fourth minute for a poor challenge on Daniel Jones.
Hughes volleyed home before Darren Purse, also on his Vale Park debut, turned home a free-kick.
Hughes then secured the win with his second goal in the 66th minute.
“Our first-half performance was very disappointing,” admitted Valiants boss Adams, the former Sheffield United manager. “Too many of our players were having too many touches on the ball and running in straight lines, which made it relatively easy for Accrington.
“But we had a good talk at half-time to sort a few things out. Our wingers came inside more so we could get our full-backs forward in the second-half and we started to create chances.
“Our midfield two of Ryan Burge and Doug Loft were also much better with their work and thankfully we got the job done and it’s another three points.
“I also had a word with Lee Hughes at half-time because I felt he was snatching at a few things and wasn’t as clinical as I’ve seen him - certainly when he’s played against teams I’ve been with in the past.
“But one thing you know about Lee is if he keeps getting chances he will soon start to score goals. He took those two chances very well.”
Gillingham still have a game in hand on Vale, and they play Wycombe tonight.
Cheltenham moved into third place with a 2-1 win over Torquay.
Keith Lowe scored his fifth goal of the season for the home side before Cheltenham doubled their lead after the break through Shaun Harrad.
Rene Howe’s 88th minute score for Torquay was a soft consolation goal and not enough to deny the home side maximum points.
Burton slipped out of the top three after they were reduced to 10 men and drew 1-1 against AFC Wimbledon.
Zander Diamond was sent off in the 76th minute after Michael Symes had cancelled out Wimbledon’s lead, courtesy of Gary Alexander.
Morecambe eased to a comfortable 4-1 win over York on their first ever visit to Bootham Crescent.
Lewis Alessandra put Morecambe ahead before Jason Walker equalised from the penalty spot.
Kevin Ellison then put the Shrimps back in front before Jack Redshaw scored a brace in the last three minutes of the game.
Southend beat Oxford 1-0 thanks to substitute Ryan Leonard’s 85th minute score.