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Tranmere Rovers 0-0 Colchester United

Goalless draw to end the season for the U's

8 May 2021

Colchester United played out a goalless draw with Tranmere Rovers who seal a play-off place with the point at home on the final day.

A first half with few chances preceded a strong second half performance from Colchester United, as the home side held on to earn the point they need to guarantee a play-off place, and continue their season. 

Hayden Mullins named a side with one change to the starting eleven from the team that beat Salford City last weekend to guarantee safety. 

Ben Stevenson was ruled out through injury, with Tom Lapslie coming in to take his place. There were five changes to the bench, with Coulter, Cracknell, Sayer, Cornish and Stagg all making the trip up to Prenton Park. 

The latter two, Sam Cornish and Tom Stagg made their first appearances in a Colchester United matchday eleven for the first time in their careers. 

The game started with few chances for either side to shout about. It was the home side who were doing much of the attacking in the opening twenty minutes, although they struggled to create any real gooalscoring chances that would test Shamal George's goal. 

Keith Hill's side were looking dangerous from set pieces, although from those they still rarely threatened the U's goal in the first half. It was Colchester United who ended the half on top, with a spell of ten minutes at the end attacking Murphy's goal. 

Noah Chilvers delivered a searching ball towards the six-yard area, with Folivi unable to guide the ball on target before the U's had a penalty shout waved away. Kwame Poku's driving run was ended by Spearing as he approached the goal, with nothing given by the referee. 

At the end of the first forty-five minutes it was an even showing from both sides, although both had yet to really test either goalkeeper. 

The second half began in a similar fashion to the first, with few chances as the home side tried to pressure the U's defence. 

But it was Colchester United who had the best chance of the game so far twenty minutes into the second period, with Folivi forcing a save out of Joe Murphy. Brendan Wiredu was quick to steal the ball in the centre circle, driving forward and finding Folivi, with the front man making Murphy palm the ball away and out of danger. 

Five minutes later, the visitors had another good chance to take the lead, with Folivi turning creator for Noah Chilvers this time. His through ball to the U's young midfielder gave Chilvers the space to shoot, but he was unable to beat Murphy with the driven effort.

Miles Welch-Hayes was next to go close with a header from the six-yard box, but he was unable to generate any power in the effort as Murphy collected easily. 

Tom Stagg was awarded his Colchester United debut in the closing stages of the game, with the young striker coming on to replace Frank Nouble for the final few moments of the game. 

It seemed to be a case in the final ten minutes of the home side hunkering down and just trying to hold on, as the U's piled on the pressure, but they were unable to break through as the game ended goalless. 

Colchester United complete the 2020/21 campaign, finishing in twentieth position and fifty-one points, including eleven wins and eighteen draws. 

Tranmere Rovers starting XI: Murphy, O'Connor, Ridehalgh, Spearing, Blackett-Taylor (Woolery 62'), Khan, Feeney (Crawford 90'), Ray (Monthe 74'), Lewis, Clarke, Nugent (Vaughan 62'). 

Unused subs: Jones, Morris, MacDonald. 

Colchester United starting XI: George, Welch-Hayes, Lapslie, Smith, Chilvers (Sayer 90'), Eastman, Clampin, Wiredu, Poku (Bohui 79'), Folivi, Nouble (Stagg 84'). 

Unused subs: Coulter, Cracknell, Tchamadeu, Cornish. 

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