Port Vale v Colchester United
Saturday 5th March 2016
At Vale Park
Attendance: 4,116 including 106 visiting supporters
Vale’s impressive home form continued with a win against bottom-of-the-table Colchester United, despite a brave effort from the visitors who frustrated the home side for much af the afternoon.
Theo Robinson, in for the injured Ajay Leitch-Smith, netted his first goal in a Vale shirt to put the Valiants in front in the 9th minute of the game.
Vale couldn’t add to that until the 73rd minute when Sam Foley nodded home Byron Moore’s cross for his second goal in five days to finally seal the three points, keeping the Vale still in the running for a play-off place.
Rob Page made two changes for the visit of Colchester United, one of them enforced and the other tactical as the manager shook things up a little in defence.
Striker Theo Robinson came in for top scorer Ajay Leitch-Smith, who was suffering with a slight hamstring problem and Ryan Inniss got the nod ahead of Ryan McGivern in the heart of the Vale defence.
In a scrappy start to the game, neither side had any fluency to their game and each struggled to get any momentum going.
But in the 9th minute Vale took the lead when a long ball from Inniss picked out Robinson wide of the Colchester penalty area.
GOAL:There didn’t look to be anything on, because of the angle ROBINSON was on goal, but he calmly slotted the ball past Alliott Parish when it seemed he had no right to even try.
Robinson was playing on the shoulder of the last man together with Louis Dodds, the pair of them gave the Colchester back four no rest, both putting in a shift for the team.
Vale were not producing flowing football by any means, but they were maginally on top against a side desperate to follow up their midweek win at Bradford with a positive result at Vale Park.
Midway through the first half Vale were close to a second goal when Anthony Grant won the ball thirty five yards from goal, escaped the attention of three Colchester players and hammered in a shot that wasn’t too far off the mark.
The visitors were finding it difficult to make any headway against a resolute Vale defence and were being forced to shoot from distance, rarely troubling Vale ‘keeper Chris Neal.
A long ball pumped into the Vale box by Alex Gilbey was met by the head of Darren Ambrose, but the ball again flew wide of Chris Neal’s left upright.
Ryan Inniss picked up a yellow card for a challenge on Porter ten yards inside the Vale half, though the Vale defender contested the decision, arguing that he had played the ball.
There were concerns for the home side when midfielder Michael O’Connor went down and remained down just outside the centre circle, but he was able to continue after receiving treatment.
Vale went in at half time holding a slender, but deserved lead, but the opening forty-five minutes could hardly be described as a spectacle, with the home side hoping to improve in the second half.
Five minutes into the second half Sam Foley’s shot from outside the box was pushed onto the fram of the goal by U’s ‘keeper Parish.
The visitors made a double substitution in the 54th minute, Lee Elliott coming on for George Moncur and Nathan Oduwa for Gavin Massey.
Vale made a similar move three minutes later with the introduction of JJ Hooper and Byron Moore to replace Theo Robinson and Matty Kennedy.
Ryan Inniss did well to recover after his slip almost gave Chris Porters a sniff on goal, at the same time enforcing the view that Vale were in need of a second goal.
GOAL:That goal finally came in the 73rd minute when SAM FOLEY nodded home Byron Moore’s cross from the right from close range to put Vale firmly in the driving seat.
PORT VALE:Chris Neal, Ben Purkiss, Carl Dickinson, Ryan Inniss, Richard Duffy, Carl Dickinson, Michael O’Connor, Matty Kennedy, Louis Dodds, Sam Foley, Theo Robinson, Anthony Grant. SUBS: Ryan McGivern, Chris Birchall, JJ Hooper, Byron Moore, Michael Brown, Sam Kelly, Ryan Boot,
COLCHESTER UNITED:Elliott Parish, Owen Garvan, Joe Edwards, Alex Gibley, Chris Porter, George Moncur, Gavin Massey, Thomas Eastman, Jamie Harney, Darren Ambrose, Nicholas Shorey. SUBS: Drey Wright, Lee Elliott, Macauley Bonne, Thomas Lapslie, Dillon Barnes, Kane Vincent-Young, Nathan Oduwa