Port Vale manager Rob Page praised veteran midfielder Michael Brown who topped a man of the match performance with the only goal of the game to see off Rochdale.The much travelled Brown, 37, was brought in for his first league start for two months to sit in front of a defence weakened by suspensions and an international call-up.
He performed that task admirably to frustrate in-form Rochdale and he also found time to roam forward to fire Vale's 64th-minute winner.
Page said: "You have big players for big occasions and Michael was outstanding.
"He hasn't played a lot lately, but he's a very fit lad who doesn't give me any problems at all. I'm very pleased with him and for him.
"We knew Rochdale would have a lot of possession and we would have to be patient. We know we have got the quality to hurt our opponents, but sometimes patience has to be the key.
"Rochdale are a good team, but they were eventually reduced to launching long balls into our box in the last 15 minutes and that's a compliment to our players.
"There were aspects of our play in the first-half I wasn't very happy about, but we sorted things out at half-time and I thought our second-half performance was very good."
Vale have now won four and drawn one of five home league games since Page took charge after Micky Adams resigned in mid-September.
Page added: "There are two sides to the game and the boys are now doing both. You have to look after your duties defensively to give a base to build from and we are now doing that."