Devante Rodney’s first half strike claimed all three points on the road for the Valiants to achieve back-to-back wins for the first time since October.
Rodney scored another winning goal after his heroics against Newport County in midweek. That pulls the Valiants further away from the drop zone but leaves the hosts in danger of the bottom two places.
After Darrell Clarke’s first win as manager on Tuesday night, Vale wanted to build on that and put a winning run together. First shot of the game came from the Valiants after a good spell on the ball by the hosts as on seven minutes Cristian Montano got on the end of a long ball and fired a half volley wide of the post.
Colchester were also a team looking over their shoulder at the bottom two places with the season drawing to a close. Rodney looked dangerous on the counter attack and got his goal after 19 minutes. Easily beat his man on the left flank and had all the time in the world to curl the ball, from a tight angle in the box, into the top right corner which Shamal George did not even dive for.
Still nine games to go after this one so work still to be done but this win allows them to breathe much easier. The Valiants should have had a second goal when Rodney got down the left side once more on 24 minutes and found Theo Robinson in a great position seven yards out but did not get a great connection and his shot was tame and an easy claim for George.
Jevani Brown had an effort with 32 minutes played but rushed his first time shot from inside the area and hoisted the ball way over the bar. Four minutes later and the hosts had their best chance of the game, a volley from Noah Chilvers who caught it well but struck it straight at Scott Brown in goal.
The hosts made two changes at half time which made a huge improvement in the final third with Courtney Senior especially. The first chance of the second half came on 52 minutes, an in-swinging corner was punched away by Brown straight to Ryan Clampin who sliced his effort well wide. More pressure from Colchester and six minutes later Frank Nouble got free on the left side who fired a low ball across the face of goal but Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu’s shot from six yards out just stayed inside the stadium as it was smashed well over the goal.
After Colchester’s good start to the second half, Vale regained control of the game and were unlucky not to double their lead on 66 minutes. Robinson was dispossessed outside the area and the loose ball fell to Tom Conlon in a tight angle whose shot was saved well by George. Seven minutes later, another chance for Vale to make it 2-0. This time Rodney got the ball on the edge of the box and struck a shot well which bounced back off the far post, the rebound found Rodney again but his second shot was saved easily.
78 minutes played and Nathan Smith almost got the home side level when his header was directed on goal had to be saved by Brown and he did fantastically well to get a hand to it to push it out for a corner. Two quick-fire chances for the home side on 87 minutes, Jevani Brown’s shot was blocked and the corner found Tom Eastman but his header fell well wide. A few scrappy chances for Colchester United right at the death but Vale hung on for a huge win at the bottom of the table.
Colchester United: George, Welch-Hayes (46’ Tchamadeu), Smith, Pell, Brown, Chilvers (46’ Senior), Eastman, Clampin, Sarpong-Wiredu, Stevenson (75’ Oteh), Nouble
Subs not used: Gerken, Doherty, Cowan-Hall, Cracknell
Port Vale: Brown, Smith, Brisley, Legge, Montano (94’ Olagunju), Joyce, Conlon, Oyeleke, Worrall, Rodney (88’ Guthrie), Robinson (79’ Amoo)
Subs not used: Scott. Taylor, Burgess, Cullen