UNITED called on all their reserves of bravery and good fortune to emerge with a battling point at Port Vale on Saturday afternoon.
Ian Morris gave the Gulls a scarcely-warranted lead at half-time after a swift break and it looked like being the unlikeliest of victories until Brian Saah headed in an unfortunate own goal, and then nearly conceded all three points with a sliced clearance against his own post.
Port Vale piled on the pressure toward the end but the Gulls held on and huge credit goes to debutants Kirtys MacKenzie and Nathan Craig on a day when United defied depleted numbers.
“We scraped the point and scrapped away,” said manager Martin Ling. “There wasn’t a lot of fluency to our play and we got the goal on the break. We did look a threat on the break in the first half but the second half was all one-way traffic.
“We defended with our lives but Brian Saah has put one in our own net, and then nearly did it again. We did have some young boys out there and lads making their debut. Kirtys Mackenzie had an outstanding game and then we had Nathan Craig making his first start and Niall Thompson in only his second game.
“We have seven players out and when that happens you start looking into your squad, and looking into your young players. We have a good youth structure and some good players at the bottom end of our squad.
“We stuck at it and it was backs against the wall. It would have been a smash and grab victory, and turned out to be a smash and grab draw. Sometimes, a point is gained by hard work and putting resilience into your team.”