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Match Reports

All Square In Crunch Clash

Kent levels it up to move U's up to fifth

23 February 2019

A late Frankie Kent leveller earned the U's what could be a crucial point come the end of the season, as it finished 1-1 with Carlisle United.

The two teams hold high aspirations of promotion this season and it was a captivating encounter as they went toe to toe.

There was little to separate the two sides, but it looked like it might be the visitors who would take the points as Hallam Hope's effort squeezed past Ryan Jackson on the line.

But the U's moved from eighth to fifth when Frankie Kent stooped to bravely head home with six minutes to go, the first headed goal that John McGreal's men have scored in the league this season.

The visitors were the first to get a sight of goal, as first Gilmartin parried away Slater’s header at close range, and O’Hare should have done better with the follow-up, as he pulled it off target.

Chances were starting to come as the U’s settled into the game and first Eisa forced a low save out of Collin before Carlisle immediately struck back with Hope striking an effort that Gilmartin did well to save.

Eisa was starting to see more of the ball and completely outwitted Grainger to burst down the left, only for his ball back to Szmodics to be intercepted.

Jackson did manage to find Szmodics after another good U’s move forward, but Liddle did enough to put off the number ten as he took his shot.

There were claims for a Colchester penalty 26 minutes in, as Senior darted into the box to retrieve his pass, but as he was felled, the referee waved away the spot kick appeals.

The two teams were going toe to toe, and it was the U’s who were next to threaten. Szmodics and Nouble combined, but Liddle got there just before the U’s number ten to chest home to Collin.

The U’s had something of a let off ten minutes before the break, as Cullen whipped a shot towards the far post, Kent stuck out a boot and it span just past the other upright and away for a corner.

Jackson went into the book just before half time for a foul on Hope, before Cullen quickly followed him in getting a yellow card for a trip on the halfway line.

Eisa went close just before half time, but lifted his effort over the crossbar from a free kick won by Nouble.

Goalless at the break, the U’s were first to go close in the second half.

Kent stepped out of defence and took the ball 40 yards up the pitch to send Nouble away down the right, and his cross was just past the despairing dive of Eisa.

It was an end to end opening to the half, and the visitors took the lead twelve minutes in. Gilmartin saved the first shot, and Jackson looked like he’d blocked Hope’s effort on the line, but it spun off his boot and just squeezed home.

With their noses in front, Carlisle were happy to disrupt the flow of the game, with Scougall booked for kicking the ball away and Gerrard seeing yellow for a cynical block on Szmodics.

The U’s made a double change to try and get back into the game, as they introduced Dickenson and Mandron for Eisa and Wright, whilst Jackson was replaced by Norris five minutes later.

The U’s forced a series of corners, as Gerrard sliced over his own bar on one, but couldn’t find a path to goal in that spell.

A Prosser snapshot saw Collin save well to his right, and the U’s pressure eventually told with six minutes to go.

Dickenson’s throw into the box was stabbed towards goal by Mandron and Kent bravely stooped to head home the equaliser.

They went within inches of the winner when Szmodics got in behind, but his effort went across the face of goal and only just wide.

The visitors then went close from a corner at the end of the game, but it finished all square.

Twelve games to go, then, and all to play for in what will be an eventful few weeks ahead.

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