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Colchester United 2-2 Mansfield Town

Late Nouble equaliser earns U's valuable point

14 February 2021

Colchester United needed an eighty-ninth minute equaliser from Frank Nouble to earn a point against a strong Mansfield side at the JobServe Community Stadium.

The U's found themselves behind early on after Tommy Smith put the ball into his own net, but found an equaliser before the break thanks to Callum Harriott. 

Ball's side were behind again with less than ten minutes to go with James Perch on target, but a sublime finish from Nouble meant that the home side took a point from the game. 

Steve Ball opted to make two changes from the side that played out a goalless draw at Leyton Orient last weekend. 

Harry Pell returned to the starting eleven after serving his three match suspension in place of Noah Chilvers, while Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu was named on the bench with Courtney Senior taking his place in the starters. 

It was not a good start for the U's, when the found themselves behind inside the opening five minutes. A Mansfield Town free kick was lofted into a crowded area, with Tommy Smith getting the final touch to divert the ball beyond George in goal to give the stags the lead. 

Steve Ball's side looked to get back on level terms almost straight away and were unlucky to see a Courtney Senior effort blocked and cleared three minutes later from a dangerous position. 

But it was the Stags who had the ball in the back of the net for the second time after fifteen minutes, when Jamie Reid sprinted through and powered the ball beyond George. Luckily for the U's, the flag was raised for offside meaning the score stayed at 1-0 to the visitors. 

Colchester United were pressing forwards and looking to get back in the game, and were almost on target with Nouble from a tight angle. The front-man latched onto a good ball from Doherty but the angle was just too tight as he looked to find the near post but could only find the side netting. 

With just over five minutes to go until half-time though, the U's did find the net with Callum Harriott on target for his side. Doherety's long ball forwards was knocked down by the other full back Miles Welch-Hayes to Harriott, who blasted a left foot effort beyond Stone and into the far corner of the net. 

And the U's would end the first half the better side, looking to take the lead but unable to find another breakthrough before the half-time whistle blew and the teams headed for the dressing room. 

The start of the second half was very even, with no side really getting on top for the opening exchanges. 

There were half chances for both sides with Poku and Bowery, but with neither able to get the ball on target, the scores remained at 1-1. 

As time wore on, chances  became more and more at a premium, with moments of individual brilliance looking to undo the other side. Callum Harriott's fancy footwork seemed to work him the space but he was quickly closed down again before giving the ball away. 

Frank Nouble was finding joy down the right flank and opened up his opponent, before a heavy cross meant the U's were unable to get a chance. 

But the visitors got themselves back in front with ten minutes to play and it was James Perch on target. A clever ball cut through the U's defence, with Reid able to cut the ball back to Perch who had a simple finish. 

It looked like the U's would struggle to get themselves back in after that goal, but they pushed and pushed forwards and were eventually rewarded with a well earned goal. 

Frank Nouble was the man on target, with his first goal since his return to the U's and what a goal it was. He cut in from the right flank and curled the ball brilliantly beyond Stone and into the top corner to net the equaliser for Steve Ball's side. 

The full time whistle blew with the U's well on top, and unlucky not to take all three points from the game, with Chilvers seeing an effort saved well before time was up. 

The point means that the U's lift themselves to seventeenth with thirty-three points. 

Colchester United starting XI: George, Welch-Hayes, Doherty (Clampin 69'), Lapsile (Chilvers 80'), Smith, Senior (Stevenson 69'), Pell, Harriott, Eastman, Poku (Oteh 85'), Nouble. 

Unused subs: Gerken, Sowunmi, Sarpong-Wiredu.  

Mansfield Town starting XI: Stone, Sweeney, Rawson, Charsley, Clarke, Bowery, Maris, Perch, Quinn (Benning 80'), Reid, McLaughlin.

Unused subs: Stech, O'Keefe, O'Driscoll, Clarke, Sinclair, Law. 

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