Colchester United head coach John McGreal on Port Vale draw

COLCHESTER United head coach John McGreal was disappointed his side could not muster a winner against Port Vale - but was pleased with most aspects of his team's opening-day display.

Luke Norris's goal just before half-time earned the U's a share of the spoils on the opening day of the new League Two season, after Tom Pope had given Vale a fifth-minute lead from the spot.

McGreal said: "Generally, I thought it was a pleasing performance.

“It’s a point and we move on against a hard-working and more athletic Port Vale than we saw last year.

“I thought they had the first 25 minutes; they were very good the way they set out.

“We knew they would come and high press and they were very good, the way they set out but it’s (the Vale goal) a mistake from trying to play out.

“That’s how we want to try and do things.

“We’ve gone to ground and it’s a penalty.

“It put us on the hop a little bit because I thought we started OK.

“It took a bit of time to get into it but we finished the second half of the first half really well and once we grew into it, I thought that we were the ones pushing for the winner.

“We regrouped after half-time and after that, I thought there was only one team going to win it.

“A few of the boys were flagging as it was the first day of the season but overall, I thought there was some really good stuff.

"Vale have different personnel and credit to them for the first half but I thought for the last 60-70 minutes, we just needed to get on the end of those crosses."

Colchester pressed hard for a winner in the closing stages, with Luke Gambin, Kane Vincent-Young and Andre Hasanally all going close.

Hasanally, 17, came on as a late substitute to make his senior debut for Colchester and boss McGreal said he had no hesitation in sending the youngster into the mix.

"He nearly won it for us at the end there," said McGreal, who said he did not have any qualms with the decision to award Vale an early penalty.

"I said that to him, I'm putting him on there to try and win us the game.

"I've got no qualms whatsoever about playing these young boys and we're looking for that next batch and keeping this club sustainable.

"Yes we've lost young boys but we're now looking for the next group coming through.

"He's full of enthusiasm; he's only 17 and there's a lot to come from him."