COLCHESTER United returned to winning ways in style this afternoon with a comprehensive win at Port Vale.

Harry Pell scored twice and Courtney Senior was also on target, as the U's claimed all three points at Vale Park to chalk up their first victory in five matches, in League Two.

Colchester head coach John McGreal made one change to his starting line-up for their game at Port Vale.

Brennan Dickenson was recalled to the side at left-back in place of Kane Vincent-Young, who missed out because of a toe injury.

Frankie Kent was ruled out with a back injury but there was a place on the bench for attacker Louis Dunne, his first appearance in the U’s squad since November, 2016.

The game started in very open fashion, with both sides going on the attack from the off.

In the second minute, Tom Eastman’s vital block inside the six-yard box prevented Tom Pope from shooting on sight, after Ben Whitfield had picked him out.

But a minute later, Mikael Mandron’s first-time effort rattled the woodwork after Frank Nouble had delivered the ball into the box.

And Colchester made a fifth-minute breakthrough through Senior, who collected possession on the edge of the Vale area from Ryan Jackson’s throw and drilled a low deflected shot past keeper Scott Brown and in.

It was his third goal in as many games against Vale and gave Colchester the perfect platform from which to build.

Pope sent a free header wide at the near post from Whitfield's corner soon after, as Vale looked for a response.

But Mandron’s downward header from Jackson’s corner dropped wide of the post minutes later while Sammie Szmodics’ low effort flashed inches wide of the far post after good play by Mandron to set him up.

Colchester doubled their lead in the 17th minute thanks to a sweet low first-time finish from Pell that beat Brown, after Vale had failed to deal with Jackson's corner into the box that had been flicked on.

Port Vale enjoyed a better time of it in the final 15 minutes of the half, with Luke Hannant collecting possession on the edge of the box before lifting a looping shot just over the bar and Whitfield running on to Pope's header and shooting just wide.

The hosts came even closer to scoring three minutes before the break through Whitfield who struck the post for the hosts from close range, before U’s goalkeeper Rene Gilmartin somehow scrambled Luke Joyce's low effort onto the woodwork again to preserve the visitors’ two-goal lead.

Colchester went in at the break two goals to the good but Vale started the second half as they had finished the first - on the attack.

Anthony Kay's bullet header from Pope's lofted ball into the area flew just over the bar for the hosts shortly after half-time.

And although there was some respite for the visitors when Senior's shot from the edge of the area straight into Brown's arms just before the hour, Vale were in the ascendency.

However, Colchester defended well and made it 3-0 midway through the second half in spectacular fashion when Pell let fly from more than 25 yards with a shot that flew past Brown and in, for the midfielder's second goal of the game.

Mandron fired straight at Brown as the U's looked for more goals and although Tom Eastman cleared substitute Louis Dodds' effort off the line in stoppage time their margin of victory was comfortable, as they secured a first win of 2019.