Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson confessed he was a relieved man after Carl McHugh's injury-time header clinched a 1-0 victory over Port Vale and a first Sky Bet League 1 win in 14 games.

While Vale missed an opportunity to put pressure on their rivals for a play-off place, Parkinson savoured a performance that will give his side a much-needed confidence boost.

Parkinson said: "I am so relieved because that win has been a long time coming.

"We have had so many close calls but here we played well throughout the game. We needed to put in a performance from first minute to last and we did that.

"There was a determination to get the win. The boys are buoyant in the dressing room and rightly so because some of the football we played was out of the top drawer."

McHugh was first to the ball when Bradford captain Gary Jones sent over a teasing cross two minutes into time added on, and Parkinson added: "Carl has the biggest heart of anyone I have worked with. His goal typified that."

Vale goalkeeper Chris Neal was in defiant mood as he pulled off excellent saves from James Hanson and Adam Reach.

Rory McArdle rescued City by heading out from under his own crossbar after Chris Lines spotted home 'keeper Jon McLaughlin off his goal-line and tried a speculative lob from the right.

However, Vale's best chance fell to skipper Doug Loft, who could not beat McLaughlin from a few yards out.

Winger Reach, on loan from Middlesbrough, and captain Jones were Bradford's most potent weapons but Vale's mean defence restricted opportunities, with Jack Grimmer and Joe Davis keeping a close watch.

Bradford's luck was out when Reach saw his powerful angled shot thud back off the near post in the 76th minute but the Bantams' intense pressure finally told and no-one could deny that they merited the win.

Vale manager Micky Adams had no complaints.

He said: "It was a cracking game. I have told our two young centre-halves they won't have a harder game than that in their careers. It started from the first whistle and although we rode our luck at times, we created some good chances ourselves.

"It is disappointing not to come away with a point because a lot of our players put their bodies on the line. Bradford were a wounded animal and we stood up to them well. We competed until the 92nd minute when someone switched off and we lost 1-0."

Adams made no excuse for adopting a more defensive approach, and added: "We've been conceding too many goals and we had to do something to stop that. I thought we were much tighter at the back."