Skipper Loft lifts Valiants
Two goals from captain Doug Loft gave Port Vale a 2-0 home win over a Colchester side who played their first game for 24 days.
Vale made a strong start and a Chris Lines free-kick flashed narrowly wide before Loft scored his sixth goal of the season in the 15th minute.
Dan Jones delivered a cross from the left flank and the onrushing Loft swept a low left-foot shot inside Sam Walker's left-hand post from 14 yards.
Vale kept up the pressure with Tom Pope's shot saved by Walker at point-blank range before Colchester finally retaliated as half time approached.
The visitors then penned Vale back at the start of the second period before the dynamic Loft netted his second goal against the run of play.
Loft sped onto Carl Dickinson's pass and cut in from the left to strike a perfectly placed right-foot shot low inside Walker's left-hand post from 16 yards.
Colchester refused to throw in the towel and Vale were forced to soak up heavy pressure late on, with substitutes Freddie Sears, three times, and Jabo Ibehre going close.