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Cheltenham Town 1-0 Colchester United

Table topping Robins beat U's with late goal

24 April 2021

Conor Thomas stole all three points for the home side with a late goal, putting paid to the strong defensive work from Colchester United for much of the game.

The U's two game winning run was ended by a late second half strike from Conor Thomas after some good defensive work from Hayden Mullins' side. 

It was a three points that sent the hosts top of the table and within a point of promotion, while the U's are not yet safe from the drop, sitting six points ahead with two games to play. 

For the third game running, Colcheter United boss Hayden Mullins named the same starting eleven. 

Following the two home wins from last week, the U's had only two changes on the bench, with Junior Tchamadeu and Josh Bohui named in place of Jevani Brown and Courtney Senior. 

The game was fairly uneventful for the opening twenty minutes, with both sides happy to feel their way into the game. 

There were limited efforts on goal from either side, although George was tested by a curling effort from Azaz that was aimed at the far corner, with the U's 'keeper able to hold on to the ball. 

With twenty-seven minutes played, the hosts thought they had opened the scoring and it was from a familiar source. Ben Tozer's long throw in was flicked on at the near post by a Robins' head only to be cleared off the line from Noah Chilvers, showing the danger that the promotion chasing side had. 

The only real moment of contention in the first forty-five surrounded a challenge from former Cheltenham Town player Harry Pell. 

Pell won the ball with a firm challenge on Sam Smith just in his own half, although a free kick was given thanks to the force of the tackle. The home bench were infuriated with the challenge, as the referee issued Pell with a yellow card for the incident. 

Colchester United had one effort to deal with before heading to the changing rooms at half time. Hussey's free kick was headed back towards the near post by Sam Smith with George getting across well to deny the opener just before the break. 

The home side were quick out of the blocks in the second half, looking to get ahead early on and pile the pressure on the U's. 

A string of set pieces and throw ins were launched into the U's box in the opening ten minutes of the half, with Colchester United able to deal with everything that was thrown at them. 

Miles Welch-Hayes had to be alert to get out quickly and block an effort from Matty Blair from twelve yards out, after the Robins' wide man received the ball from Azaz in the area. 

The U's were having to put in the defensive work to keep their opponents level with Tommy Smith putting his body on the line for the cause. Smith took a foot to the face from Alfie May heading away a dangerous ball from the right wing. 

But the home side broke the deadlock with seven minutes to play. It was a scrappy goal that was put into the back of the net eventually by Conor Thomas after Shamal George had made the initial save. 

It meant the U's had very little time to get back into the game, as Cheltenham managed the final few moments of the game well to ensure it was them who took all three points, putting them on the brink of promotion. 

Despite the loss, Colchester United move up to twentieth position, above Scunthorpe United on goals scored, six points ahead of the bottom two with two games remaining. 

Next up for the U's, is a home match against Salford City, with the Ammies keeping their play-off hopes alive thanks to a 2-0 win against Mansfield Town. 

Cheltenham Town starting XI: Griffiths, Long, Hussey, Tozer, Raglan, Thomas, Smith (Williams 64'), Blair, Azaz (Wright 76'), Lloyd (May 64'), Sercombe. 

Unused subs: Flinders, Freestone, Chapman, Vassilev. 

Colchester United starting XI: George, Welch-Hayes, Smith, Pell, Harriott, Chilvers, Eastman, Clampin, Wiredu (Stevenson 83'), Folivi (Oteh 62'), Nouble. 

Unused subs: Gerken, Lapslie, Sowunmi, Bohui, Tchamadeu. 

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