COLCHESTER United head coach John McGreal saluted his players' efforts following their impressive triumph at Port Vale this afternoon.

Harry Pell's brace and Courtney Senior's early opener helped the U's claim a deserved victory at Port Vale, lifting them to fourth spot in the League Two table.

It was Colchester's first win in five matches and boss McGreal was pleased with what he saw.

McGreal said: "I've got to credit the players.

"The boys have got their reward for their hard work and their continued belief.

"Training has been a breeze over the festive period and even though we haven't got the results, the performances have been there.

"The performances had been there but we hadn't been able to score the goals.

"When we hit the bar in the first four minutes, I was hoping it wasn't going to be like a Morecambe, Stevenage or a Crawley where we've had the opportunities to go ahead when we've hit the bar.

"Port Vale had a great draw at Lincoln and should have won the game and they performed brilliantly well against a division one team in Shrewsbury the other night to go through to the quarter-finals (of the Checkatrade Trophy).

"It was a tough game and I'm delighted with the three points."

Pell grabbed two of Colchester's goals to take his personal goal tally for the season to seven and cap a fantastic individual display from the midfielder.

"Harry has been terrific," said McGreal.

"We've had to rest him over the Christmas period because of the amount of games and the amount of running that he does.

"He wasn't too best happy but this is why we've done it, because I thought that he was outstanding today.

"He was the screen on (Tom) Pope, he won every header and not only that, he's getting into the opposition's box and scoring with two terrific finishes so credit to him."

Senior struck in the fifth minute to send Colchester on their way to victory at Port Vale.

It was the third successive game in which he has scored against the Valiants, in League Two.

McGreal added: P"Courtney seems to like playing against Port Vale and you get those teams going through your career where things click.

"I think the big pitch helps Courtney when he gets that little one on one at times and long may it continue, because he's in the goals."