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Match Reports

U's Held At Stevenage

Hosts frustrate and chances go begging

4 January 2020

Colchester United have drawn 0-0 at Stevenage

The unbeaten run has been extended with the result, and the U’s tried everything to beat the home side who had been down to ten men for more than seventy minutes of the game after Tom Soares had been sent off. 

Paul Farman in the Stevenage goal was in fine form and was up to every challenge that the Colchester United attack could throw at him throughout the game. 

The U’s have dropped down to eighth place in Sky Bet League Two after picking up a point, falling out of the Play-Off spots just behind Forest Green, Plymouth and Cheltenham who are currently in the final three play off places. 

Colchester United had to be ready right from the first whistle in this match as Stevenage looked for an early goal.

Craig Mackail-Smith was closing down Ryan Jackson at the back post who was able to lift the ball over his own cross bar to clear for the U’s. Had he not been ready, Stevenage would have been ahead after just fifteen seconds of play. 

The home side looked to build on their positive opening, and it was the experienced Mackail-Smith who was seeing a lot of the play. 

Luckily for the U’s, Dean Parrett could not control a Mackail-Smith cross as he looked certain to give his side the lead in the ninth minute. Colchester were able to regain control and clear. 

This chance for the home side seemed to kick the U’s into life as Pell went close. Harriott won and took a free kick from thirty yards out and lofted the ball into a dangerous area.

Pell got his head to the ball but couldn’t quite find the net as the ball bounced agonisingly wide of the far post. 

Five minutes later it would become a lot more difficult for the home side as Tom Soares saw red. He put in a wild and dangerous two footed challenge on Luke Gambin and was shown a straight red card.

He then shoved Harry Pell to ground right in front of the referee before being ushered off the pitch by his team-mates. 

Paul Farman was then by far the busier of the two ‘keepers. 

He saved a goal-bound effort from Pell two minutes later with a brilliant reaction save. Pell nodded the ball powerfully at goal from eight yards out and Farman punched clear before Prosser put the rebound out for a goal kick. 

Norris went close ten minutes before half time as he managed to beat Farman, but the ball was cleared off the line by Nugent.

Gambin wasn’t quite speedy enough to get to the ball and it was cleared to Harriott who saw his effort clutched by the Stevenage ‘keeper. 

Nouble attempted to chip Farman in the thirty ninth minute but smacked the ball straight into the face of the ‘keeper who was able to clear after an unorthodox save. 

The U's went even closer still, but it was through a Stevenage player. Ben Nugent had the ball cleared at him, before it skewed off and onto the top of the bar and out for a corner. 

The two sides went into the break level, with the U’s well on top against ten-man Stevenage.

Gambin was close to giving the U’s the lead just two minutes into the second half. His glancing header narrowly flew wide of the far post from a whipped Frank Nouble cross. 

The U's had to be on their game to not let Stevenage attack them on the break. Luckily Craig Mackail-Smith was unable to keep his shot down as he blasted high and wide over Dean Gerken’s bar from just outside the area. 

Norris had a golden chance from another Nouble cross as he was just inches away from giving the U’s the lead. Nouble was played in behind the home defence by substitute Poku, and crossed along the ground to Norris, who was just inches from a decent connection which would have given the visitors the lead. 

Robinson was brought on as a sub and went close two minutes into his game. Another dangerous Nouble cross was turned towards goal by Robinson at the near post, but it hit the side netting and went out for a goal kick. 

Nouble was almost unplayable down the left wing, as he fired in another cross with ten minutes to go. He stood the ball up to Harriott at the far post, but he could also only find the side netting.

Another sub for the U’s went close as the game entered its final minutes. Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe was brought on with five minutes to go after his successful loan spell at Derry.

He headed the ball towards the bottom corner only for the unbeatable Paul Farman to get a fingertip to the ball and flick it away. 

The U’s were unable to break down a stubborn and resilient Stevenage defence, but did extend their unbeaten run to eleven games. 

The result drops the U’s out of the play off spots and into eighth place.

Attentions will now be turned to another away trip in seven days’ time, as Colchester will travel to Morecambe, who dropped to the bottom of the table after Stevenage picked up a point in this game.

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