Andy Crosby was delighted with his Port Vale side as they secured a second-round tie at Stevenage with a 2-0 victory over Burton in their FA Cup first-round replay.
Gavin Massey set Vale on their way, with a poacher’s finish continuing some good form from the winger.
Substitute Lewis Cass grabbed the second goal with eight minutes remaining, providing an impact from the bench that Crosby was looking for.
“I thought we were excellent tonight from start to finish,” Crosby said. “Both with and without the ball we controlled the game how we want to play and we also handled the physical power of Burton and the way they try and play.
“You have to compete and win second balls, get blocks in and I don’t think they had a shot on target tonight.
“I thought Gavin was excellent. He was really good at Wrexham last week with a really impactful 45 minutes and you look at the make-up of the squad tonight and we are only as good as our senior players and they were all excellent tonight.
“It was a great finish from Lewis. I knew the group would need the likes of Lewis and I told him we were going to need his quality from the bench.
“I was really pleased with the clean sheet too tonight and we achieved our aim of getting through to the second round.”
Burton boss Dino Maamria bemoaned his side’s luck in a tight game of fine margins, reflecting on his team’s disallowed goal at Vale Park that resulted in the replay.
He said: “It’s a marginal game. The first is marginal to being offside, I think.
“Cole Stockton missed being onside by an inch. We scored a legit goal in the first game but it was disallowed for offside.”
Maamria hailed Vale striker Uche Ikpeazu for the way he led the line and caused the Burton defence problems.
“I thought we started the game really well then they got on top a little bit,” Maamria added. “I thought the player that made the difference in the game was Ikpeazu.
“I thought we pressed really well from the front but once they got it up to him he was able to do what he wanted to do. He was unplayable tonight and the difference between the two teams.
“You need to score when you are on top and that first goal came at the wrong time for us. Overall, Port Vale deserved their win tonight. For us it was tough to take but I think the international break is coming at the right time for us to get our best player, Sam Hughes, back.”