Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna was delighted to see his side 'dig deep' to secure tonight's 3-2 win at Port Vale.

The Blues went 2-0 up through first half goals from Freddie Ladapo and Cameron Humphreys, were pegged back as Gavin Massey and Nathan Smith netted either side of half-time, but restored the lead through another poacher's finish from Ladapo.

"We put ourselves in a great position in the game with two fantastic goals - one excellent team goal, one wonderful strike from Cameron - and then had a great chance for 3-0 that would have really killed the game," said McKenna.

"But we switch off for a moment just before half-time and that changes the complexion of the game.

"We knew then that we were in for a battle in the second half. That's what we needed to do and that's what we managed to do.

"We played some really good football at times and when we needed to grit it out and be tough we managed to do that as well."

He continued: "We knew we were in for a tough second half and in some ways the goal coming so soon after half-time made it clear we were going to need to score again, which we probably always going to need to with the way that the momentum was going to go.

"Credit to the boys we were straight back on the front foot after conceding. It was another really good team move, another good combination, a run down the left from Cameron and Freddie's in a really good position again in the box."

On 18-year-old academy graduate Humphreys, who marked his full league debut with a superb finish from outside the box and an assist for the winner, McKenna said: "I'm delighted for him. It was a wonderful goal, a great assist, but his all-round performance was just fantastic to watch.

"The effort and endeavour that he put into the match was what he shows us every day in training. He's got talent, he's got a heart of a lion, an incredible will to win and he rinsed every bit out of himself tonight.

"And he's still got some development to do, from a physical point especially.

"It's a great night for him and he deserves all the plaudits. There's no worries at all that Cameron will be thinking about anything other than getting back to the training ground and working hard."

The Blues boss added: "He certainly has got a sweet left foot. He was disappointed not to score in the Carabao game earlier in the season, so he went straight back to the training ground to work on his shooting. I can imagine he's caught many better than that.

"With senior players the first thing they want to see in a young lad coming up is humility to work and to want to learn. Cameron shows that in spades and it's the reason why the players have taken to him so well. And of course they trust in the quality he shows every day.

"It's a great night for him. It is all the more special because it's a kid who has been here from seven years old and who has played a massive part in us winning the game."

On two-goal Ladapo, McKenna said: "There's no doubt about it, that was a big night for him. I thought his energy was really good from the start and he showed a lot of character in how he approached and came into the game. It was terrific movement in the box for the first goal. We've spoken about and worked on his relationship with other players, so it was great for him to get his rewards.

"Then he pops up again in another good finishing position for the second goal.

"Goals are, of course, really important for the forwards, but it's about what they contribute to the team and the energy they bring on and off the ball. I thought the base of his performance was really good tonight. Sometimes you get your rewards in goals and sometimes you don't, but it will never drastically change my opinion on how somebody is performing for the team."

Asked if he will pick the bones of out the two goals his side conceded tonight, McKenna said: "For sure we will, especially the first goal. I thought that was really poor from us right through the pitch really. We missed one or two challenges, allowed them to step through the pitch, didn't recover into the back line well enough, didn't deal with the ball spooned up into the box and then didn't do well enough in terms of blocking the shot.

"We spoke at half-time about not being happy about that. We need to learn from it because it shows how quickly momentum can change in these games.

"It's just good when you can have a lesson like that, a reminder like that, and still go on and win the game. It gave us a chance to dig deep and win the game in a different manner than it was on course to be like."

Asked for an injury update on Lee Evans, who limped out of last Friday's 1-0 home win against Derby County, McKenna said: "I haven't had the full report yet. He's had a scan and there's some damage to his medial ligament. It's not too severe but it's certainly going to be a matter of weeks.

"Of course it's a blow because he's an important player for us in open play, defensively and on set-plays. But look, you're going to have them over the course of the season. The reason Dominic Ball is here is because we needed that seniority in terms of our cover in midfield. It's an opportunity now for him to show what he's got over a run of games."

With Town sitting second in the League One table after 16 games, McKenna added: "I haven't spent too much time reflecting. It's all eyes and all guns blazing ahead of Charton (away) on Saturday now.

"November is a little bit different with at least one, hopefully two FA Cup ties, plus an EFL (Trophy) tie and not so many league games. So I think once we get through Saturday it will be a chance to look back on the first period of the season.

"For now it's just game-by-game. They're coming thick and fast and we're at full stretch in terms of the squad. We just need keep completely focussed."