Becoming a match-winner for the first time at Newport County AFC gave left-back Dan Butler enough to smile about when talking through the side’s 2-1 victory at Port Vale.
Butler’s decisive intervention just after the interval gave County all three points at Vale Park and came after the left-back was able to ghost in behind the Valiant defence and coolly dispatch Mark Harris’ delivery across the face of goal.
Before that strike, the two sides headed in at the break level after trading goals from corner-kicks.
After Matty Dolan’s delivery was only half cleared into the path of Josh Sheehan, the midfielder volleyed it back in creating pinball in the penalty area, allowing Scot Bennett to turn quickest and stab the ball past home goalkeeper Scott Brown.
That came on 18 minutes but the Valiants were level nine minutes later when Luke Hannant’s drilled delivery was missed by everyone in a County shirt to allow talisman Tom Pope the opportunity to head into an empty net.
County had to hold out resolutely to secure the victory in Stoke-On-Trent, substitute Ricky Miller hitting the post with ten minutes remaining, but Butler and the defensive unit stood firm to secure victory amidst the onslaught – something the left-back highlighted post-match.
On the first away league victory of the season at Port Vale…
"We knew before the game that it was going to be tough. A hot day, very big pitch and Port Vale are very good at using it. We took five or ten minutes to get into the game but after that, I thought we got a foothold and then scored to go 1-0 up.
"We conceded from a set-piece which is disappointing, but you know, we didn’t give up and we managed to show that by getting the second goal. We made sure we held on from there.
"This performance says a lot about this team to be honest. We’ve always known that our togetherness, how hard we work for each other will get us very far.
"And I think everyone could see in the last ten minutes that the way we held on and got all our bodies behind the ball, defending for our lives and making sure we got the three points, shows massively how together we are as a team and a club.
"It’s massive to do that [get our first away victory in the league so early on.] We know we can go to places away from home and cause teams’ problems and get results. Obviously we did that at times last year as well and hopefully we can continue to do that."
On the goals scored by both teams at Vale Park…
"Instinctive [finish by Scot Bennett]. Very instinctive and I don’t see that too often to be honest. It was a great finish and he deserves his goal, he’s a player who has been playing very well for us.
"We are disappointed about that [conceding a goal from a set-piece.] We do pride ourselves on being good at set-pieces and making sure we don’t concede from them. We’ll keep working on it, the main thing is that we won so we’re happy with that.
"That’s the first time I’ve been the match-winner for County. My fourth goal for the club and the first time as match-winner.
"I’ve had a lot of shots, over ten so far this season, so I’m just glad it went in this time. Even more so when it gets us all three points. Podge definitely misses the cross on purpose. I gave him a shout, so he stepped over it and fortunately my shot went in.
"I don’t think much will change for me now to be honest. I know my own abilities, nice to get a goal obviously, but that’s not my main job for this team. My main job is to help the team get clean-sheets, deliver balls into the box for the goal scorers, but to get a goal is nice."
On the 223 fans that made the trip to Stoke-On-Trent…
"The fans were unreal to be honest. I could hear them throughout the whole game and you could hear the roar at the end of the game – it sounded like we were at home.
"They’ve been terrific for the whole season to be fair and hopefully they keep backing us.
"The fans were massive [during the final 15 minutes.] I don’t think until you’ve actually played away from home when you do bring a lot of fans, that you’ll ever realise how important they actually are.
"We were shooting towards them in the second-half as well and just hearing them gets you five yards further up the pitch. They were really important for us today.
"I tried to jump into the away end after I scored but I didn’t quite get there! It was obviously great to score, but even better to do it in-front of them."
On Cameron Pring’s arrival at the club…
"Cameron is a really nice lad to be fair, obviously only met him yesterday but he’s young, he’s hungry and I think that’s what we need in the team.
"For me personally, I always try to ensure that I do my best every day, day in day out and it is good for the team that we’ve now got two people in every single position that can play. Competition is good and we need that if we are going to do well this season.
"He looked good [in training on Friday.] He’s from Bristol City so he had to be of good quality, he’s settled in well already, seems a good lad and looks a really good player."
On another away trip next weekend to 6th placed Oldham Athletic…
"It’s going to be a really tough ask. No away game is easy and that’s proved by the fact that no team likes coming to us either.
"We’re obviously not going to like going away to other teams but if we go there with the same mindset as we had today then I’m sure we’ll be alright.
"They came down from League One last season so I’m sure it’ll be a good game, I’ve played there before in my career and I can tell you that it won’t be an easy place to go. We’ve got to be prepared to work hard and battle if we want to get a result.
"We know as a team that we we're capable of getting these results, doing it is a completely different thing of course, so we’ll never get too high when we win or too low when we lose."