Port Vale manager John Askey admitted he feared his side could lose 'by four or five' when they were down a goal and a man during Saturday's game against Northampton before eventually turning things around to win 2-1.
The visitors, who started the day 21st in League Two, were up against it when Sam Hoskins' close-range opener on just five minutes was followed by a red card for skipper Leon Legge shortly before half-time.
But David Worrall raced away to level moments later and Vale completed an unlikely victory with 15 minutes to go when Tom Pope squeezed home a penalty, sealing only their fourth win since November.
Askey said: "It was never in doubt, was it? We were poor in the first-half although, having said that, the goal they scored was two yards offside and that was in the first two or three minutes.
"It was a ridiculous decision by the linesman but we were good enough to overcome that and I couldn't be more pleased.
"You fear the worst and you're hoping you won't be beaten by four or five but the goal came at a great time and David finished it really well.
"The second-half we came out well and I don't think they caused us too many problems at all and if anything we caused them more problems.
"It was a good win and a great way to get it with Tom scoring his 100th goal for the club. It's probably played on his mind a bit because he's been injured for a few weeks but he stepped up and scored, although it seemed to take an age to hit the net!
"The gap is eight points so it increases our chances of staying up but I still think we're need at least another victory and to be honest we want to be aiming higher than that and get over 50 points.
"I think we can do that because we beat Northampton today and they had only lost one game in their last nine or 10 matches."