The Valiants picked up a hard earned point to kick off their 2019/20 season away at Colchester United with a 1-1 draw.
After bursting out of the gates, Vale took the lead with just five minutes on the clock, with Captain Tom Pope scoring from the spot to get an early start on his account for the season.
The penalty was won when Colchester’s Tom Lapslie brought down Manny Oyeleke who made a mazy run into the box, before Pope stepped up and thundered the ball into the top left corner.
As the half continued, the Vale continued to control the game, with a hard working high press helping to regain the ball and preventing Colchester from settling into the game, in a very exciting start.
The U’s began to work into the match and in the 26thminute had their first major chance, as Jevani Brown intercepted the ball and made a skilful run into the box before laying it off to Frank Nouble who was denied by a brilliant save by Scott Brown.
Vale’s lead was nearly doubled with 10 minutes left of the half, when David Worrall whipped a dangerous ball into the box and David Amoo’s glancing header went just wide of the post.
Heartbreak struck on the stroke of half-time however, as Colchester’s Luke Norris was able to find an equaliser for his side.
The goal came when Nouble found space down the left, and delivered a ball which was headed back into the six-yard box by Luke Prosser before Norris capitalised on the resulting goal mouth scramble and poked the ball past Brown.
The second-half saw a change in momentum, as Colchester took control of what was a hard fought and scrappy 45 minutes of football.
The Valiants’ defence put in solid performance to keep out the Colchester attack, but the hosts thought they had taken the lead in the 66thminute when Oyeleke deflected a cross just past his own near post and out for a corner.
Richie Bennett replaced Amoo with 15 minutes to play and nearly made an instant impact with the help of Mark Cullen who had replaced Pope 10 minutes before.
Bennet almost put his side in the lead when Cullen flicked on a cross towards him at the back post but it was just out of his reach.
It was Colchester who almost went in front next, as Courtney Senior curled a ball into the box which was left by Norris, forcing Brown to make a brilliant last ditch save before Leon Legge cleared the ball from the line.
The game remained back and forth into extra-time, where James Gibbons made a run from his own half, crossed the ball into the box and Cristian Montana set up Oyeleke who fired just past the post from 20-yards out.
The final chance of the game fell to the U’s as Kane Vincent-Young drilled a ball across the face of Brown’s goal but nobody was there to put it into the net.
The final whistle came soon after and the Vale came away with a well-deserved point, following a very promising and impressive display, against a tough opposition to start their campaign.
Port Vale: Scott Brown, James Gibbons, Adam Crookes, Luke Joyce, Leon Legge, David Worrall (87’ Cristian Montano), Manny Oyeleke, Tom Pope (64’ Mark Cullen), Tom Conlon, Nathan Smith, David Amoo (75’ Richie Bennett).
Unused Subs: Jonny Maddison, Scott Burgess, Kieran Kennedy, Callum Evans.
Colchester United: Dean Gerken, Cohen Brammall, Tom Lapslie, Luke Prosser, Courtney Senior (82’ Andre Hasanally), Harry Pell (75’ Ben Stevenson), Luke Norris, Jevani Brown (70’ Luke Gambin), Tom Eastman, Kane Vincent-Young, Frank Nouble.
Unused Subs: Ethan Ross, Omar Sowunmi, Ollie Kensdale, Noah Chilvers.