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Match Reports

Villa Edge Close Encounter

9 August 2017

Colchester United pushed Championship side Aston Villa all the way on a wet Wednesday night, but it was the visitors who progressed 2-1 in a closely fought cup encounter.

It looked like the U's might have a mountain to climb when they found themselves two down early on in the match, but they found the spirit to get back into the game.

After Scott Hogan opened the scoring, Frankie Kent deflected a ball into his own net, but it was the U's number six who also got his side's opening goal.

In among all of that action, the U's missed a penalty won by Sammie Szmodics, with Jed Steer saving Mikael Mandron's spot kick.

And Steer was to have the final say in a strong second half display from the U's, as he turned away Szmodics' goal bound effort at full stretch.

Hogan's opener came after just seven minutes as the ball squirmed away from Sam Walker for the striker to tuck home.

The U's went straight up the other end, and after Samba felled Szmodics, Mandron saw his penalty turned away.

The game started to settle down before the visitors went further ahead, with a hint of offside about their second.

The ball was squared in from the right, but Kent could only help it into his own net beyond Walker.

Colchester responded strongly again and Szmodics thought he had pulled one back, but it was hooked off the line.

The U's began to build up a head of steam as the half came to a close and after Steer fended away Szmodics' effort with a strong hand, the home side got the goal they deserved.

A set piece was cleared into the path of Reid and his drilled shot was flicked home into the bottom corner by Kent.

They might even have got level on the stroke of half time, as Murray's header from just inside the box was tipped over by Steer.

The visitors came out strongly at the start of the second half and the impressive O'Hare drove one just over the bar as they pressed for a third.

Cameron James cleared one off the line and then Walker saved well at full stretch, but the home side remained within just one goal.

A Wright free kick was spilled at his near post by Steer in a rare lapse, but he saw his defenders smash clear.

Then Steer redeemed himself as Szmodics smacked one that looked destined for the top corner, before Steer pushed it away at full stretch.

The U's kept pressing but, with Villa happy to see off the pressure, it finished 2-1 to the visitors, who make it through to Round Two.

That said, John McGreal will have been happy with how his side dusted themselves down after the early setbacks to make a real match of it.

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