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Crawley Town 1-0 Colchester United

Late Tilley goal sees U's lose at Crawley

20 February 2021

Colchester United were beaten by Crawley Town by an injury time winner from James Tilley at The People's Pension Stadium.

The U's weren't without their chances as Oteh tested Morris in goal, although the hosts grew into the game, and put the pressure on Gerken's goal towards the end. 

They got their rewards three minutes into injury time when James Tilley slotted the ball home from inside the area to earn his side a valuable three points, and leave the U's still looking for a valuable win. 

Steve Ball named a lineup with four changes form the side that started against Mansfield Town on Sunday. 

Dean Gerken returned to the starting lineup after recovring from a back injury to replace Shamal George who had staretd the last two between the sticks for the U's. 

Omar Sowunmi came into the defence, with Josh Doherty unable to play against his parent club. Tom Lapslie was out of the matchday eighteen, and was replaced by Ben Stevenson in the middle, while Courtney Senior was on the bench, with Aramide Oteh starting in his place. 

The hosts were forced into a change within the opening five minutes with Dallison getting injured trying to prevent a corner from Frank Nouble. He was replaced by Davies coming on in his place. 

It was taking a little time for both sides to find their feet in the opening ten minutes, with a couple of poor touches from players from both teams, notably when Kwame Poku miscontrolled the ball in the area almost creating a shooting opportunity for himself. 

The first half chance of the game came for Colchester United when Rem Oteh nicked the ball away from Jordan Tunnicliffe on the halfway line before sprinting towards goal. He was unable to keep control of the ball though as Morris came out to challenge and clear. 

And Morris was the first 'keeper forced into a save of note, when Sowunmi turned quickly after getting the knock down from a free kick, only to find the body of the Crawley goalkeeper in his way. 

The hosts went close with just under half an hour played when Jack Powell took the strike from a training ground worked free kick. The ball was laid back to him on the edge of the area and his driven effort flew just wide of the right post of Gerken. 

The U's were forced into a change moments later when captain Harry Pell was replaced by Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu after going down off the ball. 

Crawley Town hit the post with time running out in the first half, but it wasn't an effort from one of their men. Omar Sowunmi's skewed clearance luckily bounced off the foot of Gerken's post and out for a corner. 

The teams did head to the dressing room at half-time goalless, but not before the home side had a chance to express their opinions to the referee.

The U's started the second half much the better side, knocking on the door of the Crawley goal. A couple of half chances for Eastman and Oteh came and went before the latter almost opened the scoring. 

His first effort was blocked by a home defender before his second, a volley on the turn was brilliantly stopped by Morris as the ball arrowed towards the top corner. 

The home side had a golden chance to take the lead with fifteen minutes remaining, after a clever lofted pass from the left wing. It found Nichols in the centre, only for a fantastic save from Gerken to deny him the opener, with a brilliant Tommy Smith block stopping Nadesan tapping into the empty net. 

But with time running out and the game entering injury time, the home side did find the back of the net. Converting from a low cross from the right flank, substitute James Tilley coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner, decisivley giving his side the lead with just seconds to go. 

The full-time whistle blew, consigning the U's to defeat at Crawley. It means the U's fall to twentieth position, with Tuesday's visitors Exeter City not playing this afternoon due to a waterlogged pitch. 

Crawley Town starting XI: Morris, Francomb, Dallison (Davies 5'), Powell, Nadesan, Nichols, Tunnicliffe, Craig, Hesketh (Matthews 63'), Maguire-Drew (Tilley 63'), Hessenthaler (Wright 89'). 

Unused subs: Nelson, McNerney. 

Colchester United starting XI: Gerken, Welch-Hayes, Smith, Sowunmi, Pell (Sarpong-Wiredu 31'), Oteh (Brown 67'), Harriott (Folivi 89'), Eastman, Poku (Chilvers 67'), Stevenson, Nouble. 

Unused subs: George, Senior, Tchamadeu.

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