Port Vale 2 Colchester United 2: U’s denied a first win of 2018 by a late Dave Worrall equaliser
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Port Vale 2 Colchester United 2
Drey Wright scored his first goal of the season, in his 32nd appearance, but Colchester United could not hold on for a first victory of 2018 at Port Vale this afternoon.
Instead, Dave Worrall struck with his second goal of the game, in the 87th minute, to snatch a point for the Potteries club.
Courtney Senior had put the U’s in front in the 12th minute, on his full league debut, only for Dave Worrall to equalise just after the half-hour mark.
But Wright then regained the lead in first-half stoppage time, and for a long while that looked like sealing what would have been a first win in six matches for John McGreal’s men.
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However, Worrall diverted home Luke Hannatt’s 20-yarder near the end to leave both clubs are still waiting to record their first wins of 2018.
For the opener, the U’s broke quickly and the ball was worked across the face of goal by Wright and then Sean Murray, landing at the feet of Senior.
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The 19-year-old steadied himself and seemed to rather scuff his shot, but the ball still bobbled past keeper Rob Lainton and rolled into the bottom corner of the net.
The U’s lead lasted for 21 minutes, until Worrall’s snap shot from 15 yards out seemed to surprise Sam Walker and fly in at the near post for a 33rd minute equaliser.
It looked like both teams were going to be locked together at 1-1 at the break, but Wright restored the U’s lead by side-footing home from 10 yards out, after being teed up by Sammie Szmodics.
Lainton got a hand to the shot, but could not prevent it from rolling into his net, but Worrall struck late on to force a draw.
The U’s made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 at home to Grimsby last weekend.
Mikael Mandron was recalled up front, while Senior was handed his U’s full league debut, and in fact the first league start of his career.
Ryan Inniss missed out through injury, and Kurtis Guthrie was dropped to the bench.
Mandron was in the action early on, heading goalwards with an effort that was caught under his bar by keeper Lainton.
But otherwise it was Vale in the driving seat, and Walker had to dive down to his right to smother a low shot by Michael Tonge, following a superb run into the box past several U’s defenders on 10 minutes.
However, the visitors broke impressively to take the lead, just two minutes later, thanks to Senior’s second career goal.
Just before the 20-minute mark, front-man Mandron had another sight of goal. This time his towering header, from Murray’s free-kick, ballooned over the bar.
Murray came close to adding a second, in the 22nd minute. The midfielder’s rasping low drive skidded just a foot wide of the far upright.
Walker dropped a corner by Tonge, although Frankie Kent came to his rescue by blocking the ensuing shot, but the U’s keeper was not so lucky on 33 minutes.
Worrall’s low shot seemed to catch him out, the ball fizzing in at the near post to bring Vale back on level terms.
Just before half-time, Antony Kay twice came close to putting Vale in front. His first header, from Tonge’s free-kick, was superbly beaten away by Walker, while his second header drifted wide of the far post.
But it was the U’s who got their noses in front again, in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time, thanks to Wright’s finish from Szmodics’ lay-off.
Walker came to his side’s rescue on the hour mark, diverting substitute Anton Forrester’s angled drive around his near post, but he was powerless to prevent Worrall notching an 87th minute equaliser.
PORT VALE: Lainton, Gibbons, Smith, Jules, Kay (sub Anderson, 46), Worrall, Tonge, Hannant, Montano (sub Whitfield, 64), Pope, Wilson (sub Forrester, 46). Unused subs: Boot, Harness, Pugh, Barnett.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Jackson, Eastman, Kent, Vincent-Young, Lapslie, Murray, Senior (sub Comley, 63), Wright (sub Prosser, 77), Szmodics, Mandron (sub Guthrie, 81). Unused subs: Gilmartin, Kpewaka, Issa, Ogedi-Uzokwe.
Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland)
Attendance: 4,044 (143 away)