Port Vale v Colchester United
Friday 4th April 2015
Attendance: 4,471 including 173 visiting supporters
Vale’s recent run continued with another defeat, the fifth defeat in five games for the Valiants, this time to a side sitting next to bottom in the table.
Vale dominated the opening forty-five minutes, creating chance after chance, but had nothing to show for their efforts as the two sides went in at half time at nil-nil.
The visitors looked a completely different proposition in the second half, and goals from George Moncur on 57 minutes and Jacob Murphy twenty minutes later put Colchester in the driving seat.
Louis Dodds pulled a goal back for the Valiants in the 84th minute, but it proved to be nothing but a consolation for Vale, who now have six remaining games to prove themselves.
Rob Page made four changes for the visit of Colchester United, two of them enforced due to the suspension of Chris Neal and the injury to Francisco Junior, whilst the other two were tactical.
Adam Yates came back in at full back, allowing Fredi Veseli to move inside to partner Neill Collins in the heart of the Vale defence, whilst Ben Williamson replaced top goal scorer Tom Pope.
Sam Johnson started in goal for the first time since the end of August, whilst Michael Brown returned after missing Vale’s last fixture through suspension after picking up two yellow cards against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane,
Vale started the game strongly, showing their attacking intentions right from the kick off and they almost took the lead with just 70 seconds on the clock.
Adam Yates, back in the side with the manager asking him to attack down the flank at every opportunity, put in a cross from the byeline towards the far post and Mark Marshall got up well to send in a downward header, unfortunately straight at the ‘keeper.
Vale continued to dominate, pinning Colchester deep inside their own half and were again a little unlucky when Michael O’Connor ran at the visitors, who opened up like the Sea of Galilee.
Falling on the edge of the box, the Irishman slipped the ball to his left, from where Marshall hit a first time shot, but this time the ball swerved wide of the far post.
Vale did have the ball in the Colchester net a few minutes later, but the linesman’s flag had already been raised for offside before Chris Birchall’s effort flew past Sam Walker and the ‘goal’ was ruled out.
The visitors did threaten, albeit briefly, winning a couple of corner kicks in a short space of time, but Sam Johnson’s goal didn’t come under threat as Vale dealt with things rather comfortably.
Chris Birchall did well to control and turn inside the box, playing the ball across the face of goal only for Ben Williamson to have his shot blocked and Michael Brown’s follow up was well wide.
Vale were playing some neat football, but their inability to convert chances and turn their dominance into goals could easily have come back to bite them.
Carl Dickinson was the next to go close, when he cut inside from the left touchline to try his luck with a right foot shot, which wasn’t too far off target.
A comedy of errors inside the Vale area saw the ball bobble about before presenting the visitors with a great opportunity to score, but a one-handed save from Johnson kept the scores level.
In a lively start to the second half, the visitors went looking for an early goal, applying early pressure on the Vale defence.
Vale then went close again when Birchall’s hooked left foot shot rolled across the face of goal, with nobody there to take advantage,
GOAL:The game had become a lot more open, with play switching from one end to the other and in the 57th minute GEORGE MONCUR fired the visitors ahead from just inside the box.
Vale responded with a double substitution, Tom Pope coming on for Ben Williamson and Chris Birchall being replaced by on loan Mohamed Coulibaly.
Coulibaly almost made an instant impact on the game, cutting inside from the left anf firing in a 20 yard shot which only just cleared the crossbar.
Vale made a third change midway through the second half when Neill Collins went off injured and was replaced like for like by Chris Robertson.
Tom Pope turned sharply inside the box to shoot, but dragged his shot just wide of the near post as Vale desperately tried to get themselves back into the game.
Things were not going too well from a Vale point of view and Colchester looked a completely different side to the one that played in the opening forty five minutes.
GOAL:The case was proven in the 77th minute when JACOB MURPHY found himself with the time to pick his shot, firing an angled drive hard and low past Sam Johnson to double Colchester’s lead.
Vale gave themselves some hope in the 84th minute when Mark Marshall won a corner, which the winger took himself on the Vale left.
GOAL:The flag kick was crossed towards the back post where it was headed back across by Robertson to LOUIS DODDS, who controlled it then stroked the ball past Walker from 15 yards.
PORT VALE: Sam Johnson, Adam Yates, Fredi Veseli, Neill Collins, Carl Dickinson, Chris Birchall, Michael Brown, Michael O’Connor, Mark Marshall, Louis Dodds, Ben Williamson. SUBS: Ryan Boot, Tom Pope, Chris Robertson, Ryan McGivern, Colin Daniel, Mohamed Coulibaly, Achille Campion.
COLCHESTER UNITED:Sam Walker, Alex Winter, Bongani Khumalo, Alex Gibley, Tom Eastman, Gavin Masey, George Moncur, Jacob Murphy, Richard Brindley, Tom Lapslie, Chris Porter. SUBS: Chris Lewington, Karleigh Osbourne, Rhys Healey, Kane Vincent-Young, Macauley Bonne, Sammie Szmodics, Dion Sembie-Ferris.
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