Colchester United v Port Vale
At the Weston Homes Community Stadium
Tuesday 20th October 2015
Attendance: 2,785 including 155 visiting supporters
Vale failed to capitalise on any lack in confidence within the ranks of the home side following a 5-0 defeat to Wigan three days earlier, and were beaten by a side who looked far from in the doldrums right from the kick off.
Colchester took a 25th minute lead when George Elokobi hammered the ball into the roof of the Vale net on 25 minutes but Vale got themselves back in in when Colin Daniel put away a firm header right on half time.
The home side hit back in the second half, however, and Marvin Sordell struck in the 73rd minute to send Vale on a long journey home empty-handed.
Rob Page made three changes to the side to face Colchester United, with Ryan McGivern predictably replacing the suspended Richard Duffy, while Anthony Grant returned after serving his suspension and Chris Birchall was restored to the starting line-up.
Byron Moore, taken off injured in Vale’s previous game, didn’t make the bench and it was felt it was too much too soon for midfielder Michael O’Connor, who had to settle for a place on the Vale bench.
The home side started the better of the two sides, looking sharp in attack and managing to push Vale back deep into their own half, while the visitors were still finding their feet.
Colin Daniel went close to giving Vale an early lead with a fourth minute effort which U’s ‘keeper Jamie Jones pushed around the post for a corner kick.
Owen Garvan was booked for a challenge on Enoch Andoh, but the Vale winger was suffering a few minutes later after going down inside the box, colliding with the Colchester goalkeeper.
Chris Birchall sent a cross flashing across the face of goal, which caused Andoh and Jones to collide, but nobody managed to get a touch to the ball.
After a short while, the ‘keeper responded to treatment and was able to continue, but Andoh had to be helped off and he was replaced by Ryan Lloyd.
In the 16th minute Vale had Anthony Grant to thank when the midfielder was on hand to deny Tom Eastman, clearing off the line to keep the scores level.
Chris Birchall was quite involved in things from a defensive point of view, making telling tackles on a couple of occasions to break up the play.
On 24 minutes Marvin Sordell’s left wing cross was hammered against his own crossbar by Vale skipper Carl Dickinson and the ball went spinning out for a corner kick.
GOAL:Set plays have been Vale’s Achilles heel on several occasions this season, and so it proved again this time when the ball was crossed into the box and GEORGE ELOKOBI belted the ball into the roof of the Vale net.
Having played for several minutes carrying an injury, Birchall was forced to go off on 32 minutes and Vale made their second substitution – Louis Dodds coming off the bench.
Colchester ‘keeper Jamie Jones was forced to go full stretch to keep out a header from Colin Daniel in the 33rd minute, but the Vale striker had the last say twelve minutes later.
GOAL:Ryan Lloyd’s perfectly-flighted cross from the left was met by COLIN DANIEL who planted a firm header inside the ‘keeper’s right hand post to send Vale in level at the break.
The home side began the second half in a similar manner to that of the opening forty five minutes with Val being forced back deep into their own half.
Winger Callum Harriott had caused Vale more than a few problems during the first half but he started the second half on the other flank to see if could get the better of Dickinson, but before long he switched back to the left hand side.
Vale still pushed forward but were finding their hosts difficult to break down, the nearest they went was when a shot from Louis Dodds took two deflections on its way to the safe hands of Jones in the Colchester goal.
Vale were having enough of the ball to suggest a second goal may be on the cards. They were not too far off with a couple of half-chances, but Jones in the Colchester goal didn’t have too much to do.
Tosin Olufemi fired a warning to the visitors when he cut inside from the right to send a curling shot just inches off the target.
GOAL:Just two minutes later Vale were in all sort of trouble, failing to clear their lines and MARVIN SORDELL was presented with a chance he couldn’t refuse, firing the home side back into the lead in the 73rd minute.
Three minutes later Sordell went clear of the Vale defence and looked certain to put the home side further ahead, but Alnwick came racing off his line and saved with his outstretched left leg.
Vale threw on Ajay Leitch-Smith as a replacement for Colin Daniel in the 83rd minute, hoping fresh legs could make the difference and claw Vale back into the game.
In the 89th minute the home side went within a whisker of a third goal when Harriott saw an opening and shot at goal from 25 yards, only to see the ball come off Alnwick’s right hand upright.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Jamie Jones, Owen Garvan, Matt Briggs, George Elokobi, Alex Gilbey, George Moncur, Tosin Olufemi, Tom Eastman, Darren Ambrose, Callum Harriott, Marvin Sordell. SUBS: Elliott Parish, Joe Edwards, Sammie Szmodics, Macauley Bonne, Tom Lapslie, Dion Sembie-Ferris, Cameron James
PORT VALE: Jak Alnwick, Ben Purkiss, Carl Dickinson, Remie Streete, Ryan McGivern, Chris Birchall, Uche Ikpeazu, Sam Foley, Colin Daniel, Enoch Andoh, Anthony Grant. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Michael O’Connor, Louis Dodds, Adam Yates, Ajay Leitch-Smith, Sam Kelly, Ryan Lloyd