Colchester United v Port Vale, nostalgia: U’s go top of the league in 2006

How the EADT reported on the U's 2-1 home win over Port Vale in January, 2006

How the EADT reported on the U's 2-1 home win over Port Vale in January, 2006 - Credit: Archant

Colchester United writer, Carl Marston, recalls the day that the U’s soared to the top of League One, thanks to a 2-1 home win over today’s opponents Port Vale on January 21, 2006.

In less than five months, Phil Parkinson’s Colchester side had transformed themselves from relegation no-hopers into League One leaders, a remarkable turnaround.

They duly celebrated their 16th victory in their last 18 matches, a terrific achievement, thanks to substitute Richard Garcia’s instinctive brace in a 2-1 defeat of mid-table Port Vale, in front of a Layer Road crowd of 4,316.

Garcia broke the deadlock with his very first touch, having appeared as a 73rd minute substitute. The Australian steered home from close range after the excellent Chris Iwelumo had nodded on Greg Halford’s long throw. He had only been on the pitch for 60 seconds.

Michael Husbands rammed home a 79th minute penalty to equalise on 79 minutes, only for Garcia to head home the winner after Iwelumo’s initial effort had been blocked by keeper Mark Goodlad. Southend’s failure to beat Tranmere (0-0 draw) meant that the U’s therefore went top.

“We are now top of the table, which means that other teams will be looking to bring us back down to earth,” warned double goalscorer Garcia.

U’s squad (v Port Vale, Jan 21, 2006): Davison (sub Gerken, 69 mins), Duguid, Baldwin, Brown, White (sub Thorpe, 86 mins), Halford, Watson, Danns, Yeates, Iwelumo, Williams (sub Garcia, 73). Unused subs: Izzet, Richards.

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