Port Vale 1-2 Colchester

Port Vale 1-2 Colchester

Port Vale’s awful run was stretched to five straight defeats after a dreadful home loss to relegation-threatened Colchester United.

Rob Page made four changes after the disappointing display at Leyton Orient. Sam Johnson came in for the suspended Chris Neal, Michael Brown replaced the injured Junior while Adam Yates came in for Chris Robertson and most conroversially Tom Pope was dropped in favour of Ben Williamson.

Vale started the brighter of the two sides and Chris Birchall was unfortunate not to net his second successive goal when his strike was ruled out for offside. Vale also had chances for Ben Williamson and Louis Dodds but to no avail. It was disappointing as the visitors were not looking to cause Vale any problems in the first half-hour but just before the break more poor defending allowed the visitors to force Johnson into a good save.

Vale had further chances early in the second period for Birchall and Williamson. But eleven minutes into the second-half,  Vale’s defence was all at sea once again and Colchester made them pay for those missed chances as George Moncur scored.

The Valiants immediately made a double substitution with Tom Pope and a lively Mohamed Coulibaly coming on and minutes later, Vale made their third change with the injured Collins replaced by Robertson. Rob Page’s men tried to counter but were thwarted by the Colchester defence. Then they were dealt a sucker point when the visitors doubled their lead through Jacob Murphy to prompt a chorus of boos and a mass exodus of supporters.

Those who left missed an 85th minute goal from Louis Dodds as Vale at last found the target. Moments later, Coulibaly almost set up sub Tom Pope but he couldn’t find the net. But it was too little, too late for Vale who recorded their fifth straight defeat.

The result will prompt furious debate over Vale’s line-up, their form and their tactics but more worryingly it means that Port Vale are increasingly being drawn into the League One relegation battle.

Vale: Johnson, Yates, Veseli, Collins (Robertson), Dickinson, Marshall, O’Connor, Brown, Birchall (Coulibaly), Dodds, Williamson (Pope)

Subs: Boot, Campion, McGivern, Daniel