Striker Tom Pope thundered home a late penalty to hand Port Vale a hard-fought 1-0 win over second-bottom Barnet at Vale Park.
The hosts had enjoyed the better of the chances, but were frustrated by the visitors - in manager Mark McGhee's first game in charge - until Pope stepped up to fire home his ninth goal of the season.
Referee Anthony Blackhouse pointed to the spot in the 79th minute when James Gibbons was brought down, before Pope confidently put away the penalty.
Vale should have been ahead after 11 minutes when David Worrall found Pope unmarked in the box, but James Stephens produced a fine save to keep his shot out.
The home side almost broke the deadlock in the 57th minute when Pope's scuffed shot found Anton Forrester, only for the striker to be denied by a point-blank save by Stephens.
Barnet could have been in front just two minutes before the penalty, when Simeon Akinola latched onto a ball over the top but hit his shot straight at Ryan Boot.
It was left to Pope to settle matters and he fired home confidently from the spot.