Port Vale boss Micky Adams claimed match-winner Tom Pope was back to his best after he scored in injury-time as they beat Carlisle 1-0.

The striker who scored 33 times last year snatched the winner two minutes into stoppage time to seal the three points for the visitors.

Adams said: "We created a chance for him and he stuck it away and is back to his old self."

Pope's performances this term have been affected by a wrist injury, but Adams said: "Tom was outstanding and gave their centre halves a real torrid time and he is getting his rewards.

"If we can get enough decent balls into him he will score goals."

Adams was also pleased with his side's clean-sheet at Brunton Park, adding: "We had a bit of luck late on when their fella blazed over the bar and we will have stiffer tests.

"It was an important game for both teams. We wanted a clean sheet and the lads at the back did all the right things at all the right times.

"Winning breeds confidence and gives the players belief as well as sending supporters home happy. I thought we deserved that. As the game developed we wanted to go and win it and put on three more attacking players and went for it. The three lads had an impact on the game."

Pope swept the ball home from 12 yards after Carlisle had failed to cut out a ball from the right just minutes after midfielder Brad Potts had scorned a massive chance for the Cumbrians, scooping the ball over the bar from inside the six-yard box.

It was typical of what, until Pope's late, late show, had been a frustrating afternoon for both attacks.

Carlisle had three defenders making their home debuts and looked sounder at the back having leaked 17 goals in their first four home games.

Manager Greg Abbott saw "more positives than negatives" in his team's performance, but admitted: "I'm pretty despondent with the end result. We should have scored in the last 30 seconds. We didn't and they did. The game is cruel and we wanted to win for the fans who stuck by us.

"They got a break right at the end. We will play worse and win games. If our chance had gone in it would have been a different result.

"With the game petering out I would have taken a point. We need a result to give us belief."

Lee Miller came within inches of giving Carlisle an early lead when his header from James Berrett's cross came back off the bar with Vale goalkeeper Chris Neal beaten.

One of Carlisle's new boys, on-loan Swindon defender Troy Archibald-Henville, missed a great chance three minutes before half-time, heading Berrett's corner over the top from inside the six-yard box.

Danger signals flashed for Carlisle straight after the break when Louis Dodds' shot on the turn looked to be going in until Danny Livesey cleared off the line.

But just when it seemed the game was heading for stalemate, with Carlisle still seeking their first win of the season and Valiants looking for a first away win, up popped Pope to settle it in added time.