Andy Fowler’s second half strike ended FC United of Manchester’s run of consecutive victories - seven coming into this match - and saw Andy Preece’s men return to winning ways in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.
With Michael Connor out through suspension, Preece was relieved to see both Wayne Riley and Paul Henry return to the midfield after returning to fitness.
Danny Rowe – signed on a month’s loan from Stockport County on Thursday evening – went straight into the starting lineup too in the absence of the injured Mark Peers (hamstring).
Ollie Ryan was deemed not fit enough to play, however, so Fowler and John McAliskey led Vics’ attack.
At the back, Julian Cherel joined Steve Woods in the heart of defence with Dominic Collins and David Thompson named as full backs.
After a minute’s silence had preceded the kick off the first chance of the game fell to the visitors, Jerome Wright playing the ball right across the face of goal. Glynn Hurst could only turn the ball into the side netting from an acute angle at the far post though.
At the other end Riley’s effort from the edge of the box was deflected behind as he got a shot away under pressure from McAliskey’s knock down.
Riley then poached the ball after a mistake by Rebels skipper Kyle Jacobs, but the full back recovered well to tackle and concede a corner.
It was the defender’s last involvement though, as he was brought off to be replaced by James Holden after just 10 minutes.
Steve Woods was then booked for a tough challenge on former Tricky Carlos Roca as he looked to run at goal. The resulting free-kick saw Scott McManus’ header well saved by a diving James Spencer.
Ben Deegan’s shot on the turn almost wrong-footed the Vics goalkeeper soon after, but the effort lacked enough purchase to beat the stopper.
Vics responded with Neil Sorvel dragging a shot wide from the edge of the box, before McAliskey hit the advertising hoarding to the side of the goal after making space for himself to shoot just outside the area.
Fowler mishit a left footed shot and sliced it well wide after cutting inside from the right on the half hour.
Hurst then flashed a shot just wide of the left upright after being well picked out. He was in an offside position though and it wouldn’t have counted if he’d found the net.
Richard Battersby – another to have played in green and white - was then the second player into the book for a foul on Fowler on the right hand side. The free-kick came back out to the ex-Bootle man, but he blazed well over from 20 yards.
Wright did well to get a cross over from the right after out-muscling Collins, but Woods was alert and cleared the danger by heading over his own bar.
Roca was sent clear down the right, but after cutting into the box he went for goal and turned the ball into the side netting, rather than pulling the ball back for a colleague.
Early in the second half Riley turned the ball the wrong side of the near post after being picked out by Collins, before Roca was brought down by Thompson, earning the left full back a yellow card. Wright’s inswinging free kick was deflected behind for a flag kick, which came to nothing.
Fowler then did well to zip over a cross, which McAliskey should have turned in, but somehow he failed to connect properly in front of goal.
Rowe was out quickly to block Jake Cottrell’s effort after Wright laid a set piece back for his colleague to strike, after Thompson had brought down Roca.
Vics then went ahead on the hour, McAliskey and then Riley flicking on to send Fowler away down the right. He had teammates in the box, but decided to cut inside from the right and drive the ball low into the far corner past Sam Ashton before wheeling away and celebrating in front of the away supporters in the Danebank.
The Rebels almost hit back within two minutes though, Wright’s effort deflected onto the bar after Deegan played his colleague in.
Nicky Platt’s low free-kick went all the way through to Spencer moments later as the visitors looked for an equaliser.
Karl Munroe was booked after clipping the heels of Riley as he turned smartly away from his marker, before Wright hit the top of the crossbar again with a rising shot.
Karl Marginson made a double switch, bringing on Simon Carden and Chris Ovington for Deegan and Hurst with 15 minutes remaining.
Thompson was then sent off for a second bookable offence, although the decision looked harsh, leaving Vics to play out the final 13 minutes with 10 men.
Preece made an immediate change, bringing on David Fitzpatrick for Rowe to plug the gap at left back, as Vics went to a 4-3-2 formation.
The Rebels then had a great chance to snatch a point with just a couple of minutes remaining, substitute Ovington sending over a great cross from the right that Wright was inches away from converting as he dived in full stretch.
Lee McArdle replaced McAliskey, as Preece took off an attacker in place of a defender to see out the remaining couple of minutes, before Fowler was brought off as Jonathan Crane came on.
Just two minutes of added time were awarded, as Spencer caught Holden’s header with both hands after the first half substitute rose highest to meet a cross.
But Vics saw out the final seconds to claim a precious three points that sees us climb a place to third in the table.
Vics: Spencer (GK) (C), Collins, Thompson, Woods, Cherel, Sorvel, Riley, Henry, McAliskey (McArdle), Fowler, Rowe (Fitzpatrick 78)
Subs not used: Crane, Summerskill, Flowers
Goals: Fowler (62)
Booked: Woods (foul), Thompson (fouls)
Sent off: Thompson (two bookable offences)
FCUM: Ashton (GK), Jacobs (C) (Holden 10), Battersby, Platt, Munroe, McManus, Roca, Cottrell, Hurst (Carden 75), Wright, Deegan (Ovington 75)
Subs not used: Wolfenden, Parker
Booked: Battersby (foul), Munroe (foul)
Referee: Daniel Meeson (Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Assistants: N. Day, D. Fernyhough