Colchester United had to come from behind in the second half to pick up a point at home in the U’s final home game of the season against Walsall.
The U’s started the game on the front foot, with Noah Chilver’s determination in midfield proving to set the tone for the match. But Walsall slowly worked their way into the affair, with an early exchanges being cancelled out at both ends due to a lack of quality in the final third.
Freddie Sears scored a brace to settle his side in nineteenth in League Two with just one match remaining in the 2021/22 season. His two goals takes him up to seventeen in all competitions this season, an excellent achievement.
Wayne Brown rung the changes for our final home fixture of the season, with Sam Hornby earning a place in goal, whilst Luke Hannant returned to the lineup in place of Cole Skuse. Shamal George dropped to the bench and there was a place amongst the substitutes for Billy Cracknell.
The U’s side looked to utilise the wide areas throughout the match, with both Kenlock and Tchamadeu exploiting space down the left and right flanks, however, the Walsall defence were able to deal with any immediate danger in their penalty box.
Brendan Wiredu looked a danger man in the heart of the midfield and was subject to a few late challenges in the opening twenty minutes, his work rate in both the attacking and defensive thirds allowed the U’s to play on the front foot in front of the home fans.
The U’s eventually took the lead through Freddie Sears, who was able to poke home in the six-yard box after Walsall failed to deal with a loose ball inside their area.
Following that, the home side continued to pile on the pressure following their breakthrough, with a series of set-pieces missing their marks.
However, it was the visitors who struck the next blow, with Brendan Kiernan finding the back of the net with a curling effort that Hornby was unable to reach.
The U’s were then forced into an early changed as Myles Kenlock picked up an injury that meant he could not continue in the game, he was replaced by Cameron Coxe. This allowed Wayne Brown to change the shape of his side to accommodate the substitution.
The equaliser for the visitors had changed the flow of the game as Walsall managed to get themselves on the front-foot, with a few tame efforts kept at bay by Hornby.
It was perhaps a relief for the U’s players when the half-time whistle sounded, with both sides heading to the changing rooms having scored one goal each.
John Akinde went through a vigorous warmup during the break, with the U’s striker stripped and ready to make a second half appearance, replacing Emyr Huws.
Nonetheless, it was Walsall who started fast in the second half, with the visitors grabbing a second goal within the first five minutes of play resuming, George Miller sliding home an effort initially saved by Hornby.
Colchester were back in it ten minutes later after Wiredu was brought down in the box, with Sears stepping up to double his tally on the day and tie the game once more.
The second goal for the hosts sparked the players back into life, with Chilvers missing two brilliant opportunities to restore the lead. Akinde, Sears, and Hannant also had a sight at goal as we entered the final twenty minutes.
With the U’s having more urgency in the second half, there was the opportunity to add more goals for Wayne Brown’s side, Sears was unable to lift the ball over Rushworth in the Walsall goal, which would have seen the forward net a hat-trick in front of the U’s faithful.
It was not to be on the day, but it was another promising performance from the U’s, as they avoided defeat in the final home game of the season. The hosts could of snatched a win in the second half, but the game ended 2-2, with both sides walking away with a point.