Port Vale manager Micky Adams hailed on-loan teenager Jack Grimmer who netted the only goal of the game against Oldham.
The 19-year-old full-back from Fulham settled a tight encounter when he guided in a near post header from substitute Chris Shuker's 52nd-minute corner.
Adams said: "Jack's overall performance was excellent. He defended well, had great energy and showed a lot of football intelligence to score the goal.
"Chris Shuker put a previous corner into exactly the same area and Jack noticed that. He took up his position, attacked the space and got his reward.
"I have to say I'm really pleased with all of my players. It was always going to be a difficult game after a rollercoaster of an FA Cup tie at Plymouth on Tuesday and we had to grind it out.
"It was a fortunate clean-sheet but a welcome one. We could easily have conceded in the first half when we gave away far too many corners and free-kicks, but we tightened up in that respect in the second-half.
"We also took the game to Oldham after the interval and I'm delighted with three very good points."
Adams was disappointed with what looked like a serious knee injury for debutant Florent Cuvelier, on loan from Sheffield United, and also with Carl Dickinson's 10th booking of the season. The defender will now serve a two-match ban and miss next Saturday's FA Cup tie against Brighton.
Dickinson played at Plymouth and against Oldham despite the fact he was at his mother's bedside when she passed away last Saturday.
Adams added: "It looked as though Florent's studs got stuck in the turf and we can only hope the injury is not too serious.
"I'm massively disappointed with Carl for what was a stupid booking for dissent, but I will have to forgive him after what he has been through."
Oldham, who were the brighter side in the first-half and squandered chances to take the lead, were poor in the second period and Vale could afford the luxury of having a Jennison Myrie-Williams penalty brilliantly saved by Mark Oxley.