A Mark Cullen brace after Tom Conlon’s opener was enough to secure the Vale their biggest win of the season and move them into the Play-Off spots with a 3-0 win at Vale Park.
The Vale started the game brightly, spreading the play well and working the ball to David Worrall and Rhys Browne on the wings, but they couldn’t generate any clear cut chances as the Colchester back-line held firm.
The rain was hammering down on Vale Park with the wind also causing problems for both sides as every player looked to adjust to the conditions and take control of the game.
The first major chance of the game went to the Vale and came thanks to the magical work of Cristian Montano, who picked up the ball outside the box and wove between four Colchester defenders and fired a vicious effort towards the top-left corner but Gerken was able to make an excellent save.
Vale maintained their pressure in the 10th minute as Mark Cullen sent a through ball in to Rhys Browne but the defender was able to reach the ball first and give Vale their second corner of the game.
Vale nearly took the lead from the resulting corner when Tom Conlon picked up the ball and drove towards goal but his strike hit the side netting.
The Vale and Conlon wouldn’t have to wait much longer for the first goal however, as in the 13th minute Browne did brilliantly to lay the ball into Conlon in the area where he cut onto his right foot then back onto his left before drilling the ball into the roof of the net from a tight angle to give the Vale the lead.
The visitors tried to work back into the game after the goal but the Vale defence was able to deal with the pressure with ease.
With 20 minutes played, Browne and Cullen linked up brilliantly with a one-two to set Browne free, but as he looked to lay the ball into Montano the pass was intercepted.
Vale kept looking to double their lead and Montano came inches from doing so as he curled an effort at goal from just inside the box that went inches over the bar.
Colchester nearly grabbed an equaliser as the game approached the half-hour mark, but Leon Legge cleared a ball that was fizzed across the face of goal before making a goal-line clearance from the rebounded effort that went out for a corner.
The resulting corner got caught by the wind and nearly curled into the net but Scott Brown was able to react in time.
A few minutes later another corner nearly found its way into the net due to the wind, but Brown again was able to get there and punch the ball out for another corner.
As the game approached half-time the Vale looked to double their lead, first Legge flicked a header across goal from a corner before Conlon and Browne used exceptional footwork to find space in the box and Browne won a corner.
From the resulting corner Gerken was again called into action as he made a good save to his top right corner, before Scott Burgess had a volley blocked on the edge of the area.
The Vale nearly struck straight away in the second period, when Nathan Smith drilled the ball across the face of goal before Leon Legge flashed a header just wide from a corner moments later.
The wait for Vale’s second wasn’t a long one though, as David Worrall sent an absolute peach of a pass over the top of the Colchester defence where Mark Cullen brought the ball down perfectly before running in on goal and calmly slotting the ball away.
Vale won a free-kick on the edge of the Colchester box as the game hit the hour mark, and Worrall played a cheeky pass around the outside of the wall where Cullen ran onto the end of it and drilled a low effort at goal but it was blocked.
Just minutes later Vale came close to adding a third again, as the ball was again beautifully clipped over the top where it was brought down by Browne who cut inside and flicked an attempt over the outrushing keeper but inches over the bar also.
The Vale were relentless in their attacks and Montano continued to cause problems down the left flank for the U’s and let fly from 30-yards out, with his curling effort just going wide of the far post.
All the pressure from the Vale paid off yet again in the 71st minute when Mark Cullen got the ball just outside the box and drove in from the touchline where he finessed the ball on his left foot tidily into the far bottom corner to grab his second of the game and the Vale’s third.
The Vale were able to see out the game with ease as they secured another clean sheet and their biggest win of the season to help them again climb the table, finding themsleves sat in the Play-Off's.
Port Vale: Brown, Joyce, Legge, Worrall, Montano, Smith, Burgess, Conlon, Cullen (87’ Bennett), Browne, Brisley.
Unused Subs:, Maddison, Oyeleke, Atkinson, Lloyd, Evans, Campbell-Gordon.
Colchester: Gerken, Jackson, Bramall, Prosser, Pell, Robinson, Comley (60’ Norris), Stevenson, Eastman, Senior (53’ Poku), Nouble.
Unused Subs: Ross, Gambin, Clampin, Sowunmi, Harriott.