Colchester United 1 Port Vale 1, match report: Sammie Szmodics on target again in home draw

U's attacker Sammie Szmodics, wheeling away after giving the U's a 1-0 lead against Port Vale, has b

U's attacker Sammie Szmodics, wheeling away after giving the U's a 1-0 lead against Port Vale, has been linked with a move to Bournemouth. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Colchester United 1 Port Vale 1

Colchester United had to be content with a home draw, against improving Port Vale this afternoon, despite an 11th goal of the season for Sammie Szmodics.

In-form Szmodics kept his cool to run through and slot home the opener in the 32nd minute.

Tom Lapslie was the creator with a terrific long pass down the left flank, which released Szmodics clear of the Vale defence, although there was a suspicion of offside.

Szmodics was over-heavy with his touch in the box, but he was still able to squeeze his shot past keeper Ryan Boot from close-in for another poacher’s finish.


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But Vale stepped up a gear in the second half and they deservedly equalised in the 75th minute, Marcus Harness heading home substitute Tyler Denton’s accurate cross from six yards out. Denton had been on the pitch for less than a minute.

The draw extended the U’s good run to just two defeats in their last 14 league matches, while Vale showed why they are one of the in-form teams in the division with an impressive away display.

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Vale had a golden chance to score, inside the very first minute. The U’s were outnumbered at the back on a swift breakaway, but an unmarked Dave Worrall could not steer his shot beyond Sam Walker, who saved with ease.

At the other end, Kyel Reid gave right-back Joe Davis the slip of a darting run, before whipping over a cross into the danger-zone. Frankie Kent could not direct his header on target.

Kent’s central defensive partner, Tom Eastman, registered the U’s first shot in target, his angled drive being smothered by keeper Boot on six minutes.

Man-of-the-moment Szmodics was within a whisker of giving the U’s a lead on the quarter-hour mark, from close to the right touch-line.

His rising shot, from out of the blue, dropped only a foot over the bar. With 10 goals to his name already this season, before kick-off, Szmodics was understandably not short of confidence.

Szmodics turned creator on 18 minutes. He scampered onto Reid’s exquisite through ball and delivered a low cross in the direction of Drey Wright, whose snap shot was blocked at point blank range by left-back Danny Pugh.

Two minutes later and Walker had to arch back to divert Ben Whitfield’s goal-bound 30-yarder over his bar.

Chances continued to flow, at both ends, before Szmodics broke the deadlock with his 11th goal of the season, in the 32nd minute.

Just four minutes later and Drey Wright looked poised to double the lead. He was clean through on goal, following Mikael Mandron’s pass, but his shot was deflected wide of the near post.

Vale made a change at the start of the second half, introducing striker Tyrone Barnett as a substitute to go with two up top.

And the visitors were soon on the attack. Walker did well to divert a 30-yarder from Antony Kay around his post, and from the ensuing corner, Lapslie cleared Nathan Smith’s header off the goal-line.

Only the woodwork denied Vale an equaliser in the 63rd minute. Eastman’s miscued clearance flew behind for a corner, from which Kay’s towering header cannoned back off the bar. That was a lucky let-off.

But the visitors did level when Harness headed home substitute Denton’s cross from close range on 75 minutes.

Less than a minute later and the U’s almost regained their lead, Szmodics’ cracking shot clipping the top of the bar.

Squads

COLCHESTER: Walker, Jackson, Eastman, Kent, Vincent-Young, Comley, Lapslie, Reid (sub James, 67), Wright (sub Murray, 76), Mandron, Szmodics(sub Hanlan, 89). Unused subs: Gilmartin, Slater, Odelusi, Guthrie.

PORT VALE: Boot, Davis, Smith, Gunning, Pugh, Kay, Worrall, Whitfield (sub Denton, 74(, Harness, Montano (sub Barnett, 46), Pope. Unused subs: Lainton, Forrester, Turner, Kelly, Tonge.

Referee N Kinseley (East Essex)

Attendance: 3,485 (151 away fans)

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