There was tough competition but James Gray was the happiest man in the Crown Ground on Tuesday night.
While Padraig Amond was content after scoring and Ian Dunbavin won the man-of-the-match award as the Reds celebrated a second successive win, Gray probably shaded it as the player with the biggest smile.
The 20-year-old had scored on his Ireland Under 21 debut last week and came off the bench on his league debut on Tuesday to make the game safe for the Reds in injury-time after a backs-to-the-wall second half show.
"I am buzzing," said Gray, whose dad Phil played with Reds boss Paul Cook at Burnley.
"I was down when I wasn’t starting against Carlisle and Southend and my dad told me to just take my chance when I got it.
"Then I had a text off him after he saw I had scored against Port Vale saying ‘get in there’ and I couldn’t have asked for a better week.
"I was sat on the bench thinking ‘put me on’ and Leam (Richardson) had said to me before the game to visualise coming on and scoring.
"Leam and Joycey had also given me a lot of stick saying I don’t have a left foot so it was nice to show them that I have.
"But it was a team performance. I am glad Podge scored and, even though I am in competition for a place with Podge and Shepp (Karl Sheppard), I hope they keep scoring as they are great lads.
"Then Bavs (Dunbavin) was terrific and deserved man-of-the-match and the defence were too.
"We all just played so well. To beat two clubs like Southend, who were fourth last season, and Port Vale, who are a massive club, shows we are doing something right and we are all on a high and can’t wait for the next games."
Gray took his goal well but it shows how quickly games can change.
At 1-0, Vale were peppering the Reds’ goal with the unmarked Sam Morsy heading wide and then Ashley Vincent unbelievably firing wide when he was clean through in stoppage time.
Stanley broke, Luke Joyce fed Gray and he fired home from the right-hand side of the box from around 15 yards out.
For a player nicknamed ‘Trigger’ he certainly had the nous to do well.
"I get Trigger at every club," admitted Gray, who was released from¿Middlesbrough before he joined Stanley in the summer. "I either get that or pretty boy so I can’t win really!"
Cook had changed his side as, after playing one up front in pre-season, he catered for Amond and Sheppard by pairing them together.
But it was Dunbavin first in action, carrying on from his superb Southend show, as he kept out Louis Dodds’ snapshot with one hand.
Dodds had a deflected effort just over the bar while pacey right winger Jennison Myre-Williams blasted an effort wide from 30 yards.
But the Reds were competing well with Joyce forcing a save out of keeper Chris Neal and, after four corners in a row, the Vale keeper had to make a sharp stop from Sheppard.
The Reds had forgotten what a penalty was – their last one was April 2011 when Phil Edwards scored against Macclesfield, a whole 59 games ago.
But Amond flicked the ball on to Sheppard who tried to take it around Neal, the keeper caught him and most of the Reds fans were in shock when ref David Webb pointed to the spot.
Amond showed he will be in the goals this season by blasting the ball into the top of the net.
Amond had been livid last season when Neal starred for Shrewsbury, denying him countless times, but he got a measure of revenge on Tuesday.
After the break it was like attack against defence as the Valiants are a strong side and went for it.
Morsy’s close-range effort was blocked by Dunbavin and cleared off line by Joyce; Vincent’s shot on the run was kept out by the Reds keeper while Clayton McDonald thumped the ball but again couldn’t get past Dunbavin.
There were big Vale appeals for an Amond handball as the Reds were really hanging on.
Then, with time running out, a Morsy header from Myrie-Williams’ cross looked like the net would bulge but amazingly it went wide.
Then Vincent had his gilt-edged chance before Gray showed them how to do it.
"It was a great game," said Cook, who is trying to keep everyone’s feet on the ground despite the 100 per cent start.
"Port Vale are a strong side and they tested us. They will go home ruing the fact they missed a couple of good chances.
"Podge and Shepp were brilliant in the first half, a constant threat, but we had so many good players out there and, if you have good players, you deserve to win.
"We won’t get carried away, there are 44 games to go and all we can say is it’s a good start."
Vale boss Mikey Adams had said before the game not to under-estimate Accrington.
"It's never an easy place to go, with a tight pitch and the dressing rooms are average, to say the least. But to go away and beat Southend shows they’re no mugs," he conceded.
Stanley don’t mind a bit of ground criticism if they keep surprising teams and taking the three points.