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Report | U's 0-0 Walsall

Nothing to separate Colchester and Walsall

14 February 2023

Colchester United were held to a 0-0 draw against Walsall in Valentine's Day action at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Matt Bloomfield made one change for the visit of Walsall, with the injured Cole Skuse making way for Noah Chilvers in midfield.

Colchester dominated much of the ball for the first half, with Chilvers, John Akinde and Matt Jay all heavily involved in proceedings.

The U’s came closest through Luke Chambers, who met a header that forced a save from the Walsall keeper.

The visitors did not create much in the opening proceedings, but Kieran O’Hara was forced to clean up after some scrappy moments in the U’s box.

It was more of the same in the second half, with the U’s on top of the ball.

Substitutes Kwesi Appiah and Samson Tovide made a good impact when they came on but neither side could break the deadlock and the spoils were shared at the Jobserve Community Stadium.

The U’s looked to continue their impressive form in 2023 at home to Walsall with only one place and five points separating the two teams in League Two.

The match in Essex started as a tight contest, with both sides looking quite direct to Akinde and Jamille Matt respectively.

A lack of quality in the final third meant that neither team had a clear-cut chance in the opening minute, but the game looked open, especially in the middle of the park.

Ossama Ashley was working well alongside Chilvers in midfield, with the former cleaning up any Walsall breaks and the latter able to carry the ball forward and create chances for the U’s.

Akinde was also doing his bit as a target man, and much of the U’s attacking threat in the first quarter of an hour came from his hold up play.

Bloomfield’s side came close to opening scoring after nineteen minutes, a ball in from Junior Tchamadeu was flicked on by Tom Hopper – who scored his first goal for Colchester on Saturday – but his flicked effort found the side netting.

O’Hara was forced into his first save of the match on twenty-four minutes, Isaac Hutchinson unleashed a left-footed effort that had the keeper scrambling but he was able to palm It away.

Chambers was next to go close, the U’s captain latched on to a set piece delivery and his diving header forced a save out of Owen Evans.

Chilvers went on a fantastic run that started in his own half not long after, weave through a number of Walsall players and delivering a teasing cross that could not find a blue and white shirt.

Hopper struck the post with eight to play in the first half, a spell of U’s dominance saw a powerful cross delivered but the striker’s effort cannoned off the woodwork before being ruled out for offside.

The rest of the half fizzled out without any major chances, but it was the U’s who will have gone in the happier of the two at the break.

No changes were made from either side at the break and Walsall came out with a bit more energy at the start of the second half.

Evans was having some pressure put on his by the U’s frontline but was being provided with plenty of protection from the referee as Akinde and Hopper looked to force him into a mistake.

Tchamadeu was the first into the book with half an hour left to play, his late challenge on Tom Knowles gave Walsall a free-kick in a dangerous position on the left of the U’s penalty box.

The set piece was cleared with ease and actually allowed the home side to break, Ashley latched on to a loose ball and set Akinde in but Evans was out quickly to prevent the striker from getting a significant touch.

Donervon Daniels was next to be shown a yellow card after he lost out to Hopper by the corner flag.

The January signing won the U’s a free-kick that was whipped in by Chilvers but collected well by Evans once again.

Chambers went down for some lengthy treatment after tangling with a Walsall player, he was cautioned for the original challenge and was withdrawn as a result.

He was replaced by Tovide while Arthur Read and Kwesi Appiah were also introduced as Bloomfield opted to change to a back four.

The change of shape and extra attacking reinforcements were working well with both Appiah and Tovide both chasing down every single ball.

It looked evenly poised as we entered the final few minutes, with either team looking like they could grab a late winner.

Tovide had an effort off target after a good ball in from Newby was set up for him.

Seven was the number raised at the end of the second half after some lengthy stoppages meant much of the play was halted.

Not much dramatic action took place in stoppage time, with both teams eventually content to share the points.

The U's remain in sixteenth place, now with thirty-five points from thirty-two matches, heading to Carlisle United on Saturday afternoon. 

Colchester XI: O’Hara, Chambers (Read, 75), Chilvers, Kelleher, Ashley, Jay (Newby, 85), Tchamadeu, Wood, Akinde (Appiah, 75), Hopper (Tovide, 75), Hall

Subs: Smith, Greenidge, Appiah, Read, Newby, Miranda, Tovide

Walsall XI: Evans, White, Gordon (Stevens, 75), Daniels, Monthe, Knowles, Comley, Maddox (Willmott, 54), Matt (Williams, 89), Hutchinson, Low

Subs: Smith, Williams, McEntee, Stevens, Allen, Willmott, Songo’o

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