Marc Richards nodded his 15th goal of the season four minutes from time to secure Port Vale an important 1-0 win over Hereford.
The visitors, who slipped into the npower League Two relegation zone following the result, were the better side in the second half but Richards buried a decisive header from six yards after meeting a right-wing cross by substitute Tom Pope to earn the hosts all three points.
Joe Colbeck squandered an early chance for Hereford before John McCombe fired into the side-netting for Vale during a lively opening spell. Meanwhile, the home side almost took the lead when Chris Shuker's shot was saved by David Cornell before Louis Dodds' follow-up was headed off the line by Ryan Green.
Hereford showed more ambition at the start of the second period and forced several corners before a slip by Doug Loft led to Colbeck warming Stuart Tomlinson's fingers with a stinging shot.
The home fans got behind Vale and should have been rewarded in the 73rd minute when Richards sliced a gilt-edged chance wide from Pope's downward header.
Hereford were almost celebrating four minutes later as Sam Clucas' close-range shot from Colbeck's cross was brilliantly saved by Tomlinson. But it was Richards who had the final say to put Vale in the comfort zone despite the blow of a 10-point penalty for entering administration.