COLCHESTER United slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Port Vale, on Saturday afternoon.

The U's suffered a second straight loss in League Two, after Mark Cullen’s brace and Tom Conlon’s goal saw them beaten at Vale Park.

Here are five talking points from the game, after John McGreal's side were soundly beaten.

In contrast

JUST seven days after Colchester United had produced arguably one of their best-ever performances under John McGreal, they churned out a display that ranks among one of their worst in recent years.

Things move quickly in football but the contrast between the U’s dominant win over Plymouth Argyle and their dismal defeat at Port Vale could hardly have been starker.

In some ways, it is unfathomable how a side can produce two such conflicting performances in such a short space of time, with virtually the same starting line-up on the pitch.

Put simply, there was no way of dressing up Colchester’s 3-0 reverse at Vale Park; the only positive was that they remain in the play-off places despite back-to-back defeats.

Praise for Port Vale

JOHN McGreal was quick to pay tribute to Port Vale’s excellent display in his post-match press conference – and rightly so.

The U’s boss sportingly acknowledged that Vale were excellent, from start to finish.

At times, the hosts’ performance resembled that of Colchester United’s dominant showing against Plymouth Argyle last weekend.

They were positive, confident and clinical; no wonder their manager John Askey described their impressive display as their best of the season.

All that without their talisman striker Tom Pope, Mitch Clark and James Gibbons, who were all suspended.

Drawing a blank

IT’S pretty rare for Colchester United not to score in a league game but that was the case at Vale Park.

It’s only the ninth time that the U’s have failed to find the net in League Two this season.

When analysing their defeat at Port Vale, they will be disappointed with the fact that they managed only one shot on target in the entire match.

Colchester forced ten corners in total in the 90 minutes and to not capitalise on any of their set-piece opportunities will also have come as a disappointment for John McGreal and his players.

No consolation

THERE were few positives for Colchester United to take from their defeat at Port Vale.

But skipper Luke Prosser making his 100th league appearance for the U’s was a rare bright spot.

Fittingly, he racked his century at Vale Park, where his career first started.

The Colchester skipper will probably find absolutely no consolation whatsoever in achieving his personal milestone, given the final outcome.

But he has nevertheless been an excellent servant for the U’s since joining them, three and a half years ago.

Grounds for disappointment

VALE Park is widely known as the Wembley of the North.

But few – if any – of the 126 Colchester United fans who made the treacherous trip to watch their team at Port Vale will have been drawing comparisons with the national stadium at the weekend - Storm Dennis put paid to that.

Having battled their way up to Burslem in severe weather conditions to watch the U’s they received little in the way of reward, on a bad day all round for Colchester.