Port Vale fought back to earn a point at home to Colchester United in Sky Bet League Two on Saturday afternoon, with David Worrall firing in a brace. Goals from Courtney Senior and Drey Wright either side of Worrall's opener had seemingly downed Vale, but the midfielder struck again late on to seal a draw.
With two minutes on the clock, it was the visitors who registered the first attempt of the afternoon and the returning Rob Lainton was forced to make a save as Mikael Mandron directed a Ryan Jackson cross on target via his head. Michael Tonge then tested Sam Walker up the other end on five minutes, but the U’s goalkeeper responded well to hold onto the midfielder’s powerful free-kick.
Vale continued to press for an opener after that chance and Tonge almost pulled his side ahead after 10 minutes. The experienced midfielder shimmied past two defenders before drilling a low effort on target from inside the area, but Walker was on hand once more to deny him with a smart stop.
Despite there not being too much separating the teams in the early exchanges, Colchester found the net in the 12th minute to take the lead. It was a passage of neat build-up involving Sammie Szmodics and Sean Murray that lead to the goal, but Senior provided the finish as he slotted a shot into the far corner beyond Lainton.
Following Colchester’s goal, the game endured a quiet spell, but it was John McGreal’s men who almost doubled their lead with 23 minutes played as they countered with speed. Murray was unable to capitalise on the opportunity, however, as he flashed an effort inches wide of the far post from 18 yards.
It was Vale’s turn to attack in the 33rd minute and the hosts made it count as Worrall latched onto a pass across field by Cristian Montano. The midfielder then cushioned it down on his chest, cut inside past a defender, and then smashed a strike into the bottom corner from just inside the area.
Just before the break, Antony Kay forced Walker into a fine save as he headed a Tonge free-kick towards the roof of the net before looping one just off target seconds later. In stoppage time, the U’s regained their lead as Szmodics picked out Wright who finished after Vale failed to clear their lines.
With five minutes of the second half played, both teams had a chance to find the net as James Gibbons’ high cross was spilled by Walker under pressure from Anton Forrester. Szmodics then created space for a shot up the other end, but Nathan Smith threw his body in the way to block.
Forrester was at the heart of another move on 59 minutes as he looked to make an impact after coming off the bench at half-time, but he was thwarted by the goalkeeper who got down well to divert his low effort behind for a corner. Tonge then aimed his delivery towards the striker, but Colchester were able to hook the ball clear.
The Valiants kept possession well during the next quarter of an hour, but despite dictating the tempo of the game, Walker remained untested as the Colchester defence stood firm. Luke Hannant did get in behind the back line on 78 minutes after a mazy run, but his effort was tame, and the goalkeeper was allowed to gather comfortably.
With the game reaching the final stages, Vale's persistence paid dividends as Worrall doubled his tally to make it 2-2. Hannant's initital effort went through a crowd of players before finding the boot of Worrall, and it was his touch that proved decisive as it beat Walker to send Vale Park into raptures.
Port Vale: Lainton, Gibbons, Smith, Kay (Anderson 45), Jules, Montano (Whitfield 64), Tonge, Worrall, Hannant, Wilson (Forrester 45), Pope ©.
Unused Substitutes: Boot, Pugh, Harness, Barnett.
Colchester United: Walker, Jackson, Eastman, Kent, Vincent-Young, Murray, Lapslie, Szmodics, Senior (Comley 63), Wright (Prosser 77), Mandron (Guthrie 81).
Unused Substitutes: Gilmartin, Kpekawa, Issa, Ogedi-Uzokwe.
Attendance: 4,044 (143 away).