Port Vale manager Andy Crosby was proud of his 10-man team after they earned an FA Cup first-round replay against fellow League One side Burton with a goalless draw.
Captain Nathan Smith was given a straight red card in the 18th minute after bringing down Mark Helm, but Burton failed to make their one-man advantage count.
Vale actually finished the game with nine men as Jason Lowe was withdrawn through injury and they’d already used their three substitution intervals.
The draw comes on the back of Crosby’s men booking their place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday, but they’re currently on an eight-match winless run in League One.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of the group, the togetherness of the group,” Crosby said.
“We were the better team with 11 men, we were the better team with 10 men, we were the better team with nine men.
“We controlled possession, we controlled them out of possession, we controlled them with 10 men and we controlled the possession with 10 men.
“And I can’t tell you how together this group is, how much they care, how disappointed they’ve been with the run we’ve been on.
“But to go into that game and start the way we did and have the chances we did.
“And then to suffer the disappointment we did with the referee making the decision, to not feel sorry for ourselves, to keep going.
“They crawl off that pitch in a better place than when the game started.”
In a game not short on chances, Burton finally found the net in the dying moments through Josh Walker, but it was ruled out for offside against substitute Cole Stockton.
Albion boss Dino Maamria felt his team were blatantly denied a place in the second round, rather than missing a golden opportunity to go through.
“We scored a legitimate goal in the last minute of the game – it’s clearly onside,” he said.
“Watch it back. Diagonal ball from Jake Caprice, Ryan Sweeney’s in an onside position – he heads it down. Josh Walker’s in an onside position – he turned and volleyed it in brilliantly.
“But the offside got given on Cole Stockton at the near post with the ball nowhere near him.
“It’s a really, really frustrating decision to give, but in all honesty am I surprised by it?
“You see it when they got the sending off in the first half, every decision after that – the crowd, their bench – they’re on top of the referee, they’re on top of the linesman – he got abused throughout the game.
“I didn’t think they were strong enough to deal with that.
“And flagging that last decision there denied us going through.”