AFTER HOME LOSS

The Sentinel - - FOOTBALL -

un­der­stand­able after a run of four de­feats and two draws from the last six league games at Vale Park.

Anger which had been di­rected at Aspin in re­cent games was turned on owner Nor­man Smurth­waite dur­ing the sec­ond half on Satur­day as fans on the Rail­way side of the ground chanted for him to ‘Get out of our club’.

That’s the most ob­vi­ous show of dis­sent against the owner since the away game at Steve­nage last sea­son just be­fore Aspin was ap­pointed.

The owner would ar­gue he has sup­ported his man­ager since then, but clearly when he said back in Novem­ber that Aspin would be backed with the lat­est in­stal­ment of the Jor­dan Hugill money, plus cash from the cups, sup­port­ers were hop­ing for rather more by now than talk of a tri­al­ist and two or three loans.

To be fair to Smurth­waite, Aspin has said that the ma­jor­ity of Jan­uary deals in the lower di­vi­sions are loans rather than per­ma­nent trans­fers, so it could be a case of play­ers just not be­ing avail­able. Let’s see. The Valiants might yet strengthen sig­nif­i­cantly this month, but after find­ing them­selves watch­ing a third rel­e­ga­tion scrap, sup­port­ers may well de­cide not to be­lieve any­thing un­til they see it.

For ex­am­ple, talk of a pos­i­tive start to 2019 - and this re­porter is guilty of that - lasted all of 18 min­utes on Satur­day as Colch­ester raced into a two-goal lead.

Vale’s im­pres­sive draw at lead­ers Lin­coln in the league and penalty shoot out-win at home to Shrews­bury in the Check­a­trade, seemed a long way off when Court­ney Se­nior’s 20-yard strike took a de­flec­tion past Scott Brown on five min­utes and then Harry Pell volleyed home at the back post from a cor­ner 11 min­utes later.

A ham­mer­ing to sur­pass the 4-1 de­feat to Old­ham in the last home league game loomed, but Vale re­cov­ered pretty well and should have scored in a scram­ble just be­fore the break when Ben Whit­field and Luke Joyce were both de­nied on the line.

The Valiants then had their best spell in the 20 min­utes after the break, but their best chance in that pe­riod came and went when Antony Kay headed over.

But Colch­ester looked to have weath­ered the storm be­fore they ben­e­fited from more luck when Harry Pell’s long-range strike took a huge de­flec­tion to loop past Scott Brown on 69 min­utes.

Talk of luck is un­fair on the vis­i­tors who were the bet­ter side and looked what they are, a team with a chance of au­to­matic pro­mo­tion.

Right now, Vale look like a side ca­pa­ble of go­ing out of the divi­sion the other way.

This was an­other de­press­ing af­ter­noon at Vale Park, what­ever the score­board said.

A reg­is­tered char­ity: 1044536

UP FOR THE CHASE: Port Vale duo Ben Whit­field and Luke Joyce at­tempt to win pos­ses­sion at the week­end.

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