Micky Adams admitted it needed a triple substitution to spark his team into life as Port Vale came from behind to beat Gillingham 2-1.
Adams brought on new signings Chris Shuker and Paul Marshall, and also replaced the injured Clayton McDonald with Gareth Owen, just before the hour in Saturday's League Two clash at Vale Park.
The changes sparked a swift improvement, with Sean Rigg's 81st-minute header cancelling out Chris Whelpdale's first-half opener before Marc Richards buried a last-minute penalty.
Adams said: "We needed a lift and Shuker and Marshall gave us that. They got on the ball and that brought others into play, which made the main difference.
"It was no reflection on the players I took off because everyone has played a part in our good run but sometimes you have to make those decisions. We were poor for the first hour, no two ways about that. We looked tired and lacked enthusiasm for the game, which was surprising because we have been playing well.
"But overall I've got to give the lads as much credit as I can. Some players are turning out when they are less than 100 per cent fit and our injury situation has forced us to play people out of position."