Massey makes it two league wins out of two for U’s

Sanchez Watt, who was handed his first start of the seaason against Port Vale

Sanchez Watt, who was handed his first start of the seaason against Port Vale - Credit: Ashley Pickering

Colchester United 1 Port Vale 0

Gavin Massey swept home a close-range winner on 74 minutes, against visiting Port Vale this afternoon, to make it two wins out of two for Colchester United in League One this season.

The U’s squandered several chances to break the deadlock during the first quarter of the game, with Massey guilty of poor finishing on a couple of occasions.

But when Jabo Ibehre turned superbly inside the box and lashed in a shot that was parried by keeper Chris Neal, the alert Massey had the simple task of sweeping the loose ball into an unguarded net.

It was no more than the U’s deserved for a strong performance, following the disappointment of Tuesday night’s 5-1 defeat to Peterborough in the Capital One Cup.

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Joe Dunne’s men had won their League One opener 1-0 at Gillingham last weekend, so it is six points out of six for the U’s.

Dunne fielded an attack-minded line-up, with a two-pronged striker-force in Freddie Sears and Ibehre, and two wingers in Massey and Sanchez Watt.

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And Sears caused a stir by hitting the bar after just nine minutes. He latched onto Watt’s lay-off and cracked in a fierce shot that beat keeper Neal, only to ricochet off the top of the bar.

Two minutes later and Vale came close to an opening goal themselves. Midfielder Doug Loft let fly with a speculative 25-yarder that whistled only a foot over the bar, with Sam Walker back-pedalling frantically.

The U’s had a couple more chances before the 20-minute mark. Gavin Massey aimed a long-range shot straight at Neal, and Watt created room for himself before seeing his goal-bound shot balloon over the top, via a deflection off Loft.

Massey was through on goal in the 20th minute, with just Neal to beat, but the U’s winger could not curl his shot beyond the Vale keeper, who pushed the ball wide of his upright.

Neal made another good save on 23 minutes. It was a swift break, started by Watt and continued by Massey, who swept the ball into the path of Sears. The ex-West Ham attacker homed in on goal, but Neal stood up well to block the shot with strong hands.

The U’s were playing some slick football, and Massey nearly got on the end of Watt’s lofted ball. Neal was quickly off his line to punch half-clear, and the follow-up by Ibehre looped wide of target.

At the other end, left wing-back Daniel Jones swung over a dangerous cross from the flank, in the direction of Tom Pope, who was last season’s League Two player-of-the-year. Pope’s close-range effort dropped kindly into the arms of Walker.

Vale actually dictated the final 15 minutes of the second half, and it was a quiet opening to the second period, with the exception of a flick-header by Massey dropping into the side-netting.

The U’s nearly broke the deadlock in the 70th minute. Massey scurried clear of the defence and slid over a cross which Sears nearly diverted home. Liam Chilvers rescued and his side with a last gasp interception, and the follow-up shot by Ibehre was smothered by Neal.

However, the hosts were not to be denied and four minutes later Massey swept home the winning goal.

The U’s came close to doubling their lead in the 79th minute. Sears burst clear but his cross, intended for team-mate Ibehre, was diverted goalwards by Vale defender Richard Duffy, with Neal doing well to save from his own team-mate.


COLCHESTER: Walker, Wilson, Okuonghae, Eastman, Dickson, Massey, David Wright, Eastmond (sub Bean, 87), Watt (sub Drey Wright, 85), Sears (sub Gilbey, 85), Ibehre. Unused subs: Cousins, Thompson, Morrison, Bond.

PORT VALE: Neal, Duffy, Chilvers, Robertson, Dickinson, Jones (sub Myrie-Williams, 74), Loft, Griffith, Lines, Tomlin (sub Hughes, 66), Pope (sub Williamson, 74). Unused subs: Yates, Dodds, Mohamed, Birchall.

Referee: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire)

Attendance: 3,201

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