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