Two set piece goals in the first half cost the U's in their latest pre-season friendly at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.In this latest match, goals by Luke Chambers and David McGoldrick gave the U's work to do in the second half.And whilst their second half display was much improved, they were unable to peg back their Championship opponents, who got a second half penalty to run out 3-0 winners.Despite that, over 21,000 have seen the U's in action across their three home friendlies and there will have been plenty to be happy about in those games as the new season draws ever closer.
The U’s almost found themselves behind after just 20 seconds, as Nouble struck a shot from distance that cannoned back off the bar before most fans had taken their seat.
The home side had their first sight of goal five minutes later, as a swift counter ended with Watt planting one into the midriff of Loach.
McGoldrick then forced a good save out of Walker with a curled shot, in what was a lively start to the match.
There was an early change for Town though, after just seventeen minutes, as Skuse had to make way after picking up a knock in midfield.
Clear cut chances were at a premium in the first quarter of the game, but Town got their noses in front after 27 minutes.
A Wordsworth corner was met by an unmarked Chambers after 28 minutes and he made no mistake to power a header home.
Returning to action for the first time since the injury he picked up against Heybridge Swifts, Eastmond made way for Gilbey just after the half hour mark as he got useful minutes under his belt.
The young midfielder was just settling into the game when the U’s fell further behind, as the home side failed to clear a corner, allowing McGoldrick to slot home into the corner beyond the unsighted Walker.
Town preserved their advantage into the half time interval, but the U’s started the second half brightly as Drey Wright enjoyed himself down the left flank.
One of his now trademark runs ended with a cross that saw Bond’s shot smack David Wright on its path to goal, before Bond had another effort later on which Gerken snaffled up.
The U’s were improved in the second half, led by the colossal efforts of Ibehre up front.
One move, with twenty minutes to go, saw Gilbey bursting into the box, and he cut the ball back for David Wright, only for it to be nicked off his toes.
But whilst the U’s had pressed their opponents, they found themselves further behind shortly after that Wright effort.
Murphy broke the U’s defensive lines and nicked the ball past Walker and, although there didn’t appear to be much contact as the striker went past the keeper, the referee pointed to the spot.
He sent the keeper the wrong way, to make it 3-0.
The U’s went up the other end to test Gerken again, with another shot from distance, the former Colchester stopper getting down well to turn it away.
Whilst the U's kept pressing, Town were happy to hit on the counter, but there were no further goals in the game.
The U's would have been disappointed to have been beaten but boss Joe Dunne will look at his side's improved second half efforts as he looks to polish things up ahead of the first game against Gillingham on August 3rd.