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Leyton Orient 0-0 Colchester United

Goalless draw in the A12 derby

6 February 2021

Colchester United picked up a point on the road in a goalless draw at the Breyer Group Stadium as both Orient and the U's were unable to find an opening goal in the ninety minutes.

In a fairly even game, Conor Wilkinson looked dangerous for the hosts having a couple of chances saved by George as well as going close with set pieces, but it was the U's loanee front man Frank Nouble who went closest of all, when his header struck the bar twenty minutes into the first half. 

He was denied a goal on his second debut by the woodwork, although the U's battled hard to earn a point in East London. 

From the last game that the U's were in, Head Coach Steve Ball made five changes from the home defeat against Scunthorpe United. 

Coming into the starting eleven were George, Doherty, Lapslie, Sarpong-Wiredu and Nouble. Dean Gerken missed out through injury, and Stevenson was unable to start, although his name did appear on the substitutes bench. 

Also missing was Cohen Bramall after his deadline day move to Lincoln City, Courtney Senior and Jevani Brown who were also on the subs bench.  

It was a fairly even opening ten minutes with both sides putting the crosses in and just finding their feet on the slightly sticky Brisbane Road pitch. 

Frank Nouble looked as though he had settled back into the Colchester United team well after linking up well with his attacking players in Harriott, Poku and Sarpong-Wiredu. 

But Orient were the first to test out the 'keepers with Conor Wilkinson the man on target for the O's. He cut inside well from the right flank before firing a low shot that was pushed wide by Shamal George who was making his League debut for the U's. 

Wilkinson had the best chance of the game so far from the resulting corner, when he was picked out unmarked in the six-yard area. Luckily for the U's his header flew over the bar, with the travelling side breathing a sigh of releif to see the ball in the stand behind. 

The U's went even closer ten minutes later with Frank Nouble almost capping his second U's debut with a goal. He found himself unmarked in the six-yard area from Poku's cross, and was unlucky to head the ball against the underside of the bar, before it bounced on the line and back out for Vigouroux to collect. 

Following this chance, both sides struggled to really create any clear cut chances. Orient seemed content to keep the ball and grow their share of possession without any real attacking threat up front, while the U's looked to hit the home side on the break when their chances came. 

As the first half drew to a close, the two teams headed to the dressing rooms goalless, with both sets of players perhaps rueing the good chances that they had failed to put in the back of the net. 

At the start of the second half it was pehaps the home side who were just edging the play with chances limited for both sides. 

Shamal George had a couple of saves to make from Wilkinson who looked increasingly dangerous for the hosts, as the surface became more slippy with the falling rain. 

Attacking predominantly down the right wing, the U's were restricted to counter attacks, with the pace of Harriott and second half substitute Courtney Senior leading the charge out from the back for Colchester United. But as Harriott delivered the ball into the middle, Nouble slipped and Orient were able to clear with time running out for both sides to find the opener. 

Colchester United pressed forwards in the last few minutes looking for a winner, with Nouble rescuing the ball from a goal kick and laying it back across only for the O's 'keeper to get down well and deny the arriving Sarpong-Wiredu a first U's goal. 

Orient had the last kick of the game, a free kick from Wilkinson. Striking the ball from just outside the box the O's number nine lifted the ball just over George's goal with the referee blowing for full time seconds later. 

As the U's look to get back on a good run, Colchester United's point lift them up to seventeenth with thirty-two points, overtaking Scunthorpe United on goal difference. 

Up next for the U's is a home game next weekend against an in-form Mansfield Town side who have been on a winning run under Nigel Clough. The Stags weren't in action this afternoon after their game at Forest Green Rovers was postponed, although they are playing in the week, on the road at Walsall. 

Leyton Orient starting XI: Vigouroux, Ling (Happe 60'), Cisse, Clay (McAnuff 58'), Wilkinson, Kemp (Johnson 77'), Brophy, Akinola, Freeman, Thompson, Abraham. 

Unused subs: Sargeant, Widdowson, Dayton, Dennis. 

Colchester United starting XI: George, Welch-Hayes, Doherty (Clampin 73'), Lapslie, Smith, Harriott, Chilvers (Stevenson 65'), Eastman, Sarpong-Wiredu, Poku (Senior 71'), Nouble. 

Unused subs: Coulter, Sowunmi, Oteh, Brown. 

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