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Report | U's 0-1 Stockport County

U's fall at home to Stockport

11 March 2023

A first-half goal from Kyle Wootton handed the U's a home defeat against Stockport County.

Ben Garner took to the touchline for the first time since being appointed as the new Colchester Head Coach and the former Charlton boss immediately put his stamp on the squad with a number of changes.

Alex Newby and Luke Chambers returned to the starting XI with Will Greenidge and Arthur Read dropping out.

Much of the first half unfolded with both sides having a fair share of chances.

Ossama Ashley went closest for the U’s but it was Stockport who took the lead, with Kyle Wootton heading home from a corner.

The second half produced more of the same, but the boys in blue and white stepped it up in the final stages as they chased an equaliser.

A few players went close, but a series of tactical fouls from Stockport were largely preventing any flowing football from Colchester.

In the end, the promotion chasing Hatters were able to see off a barrage from the U’s to take home three points in League Two.

The U’s returned to the Jobserve Community Stadium after the unfortunate loss at Bradford last weekend and looked electric in the opening minutes.

From kick-off, Newby drove towards the opposition box before releasing Junior Tchamadeu who looked to be caught in the penalty area, but the referee saw nothing wrong with the challenge and waved play on.

After a sustained period of pressure, Stockport managed to win themselves a free-kick in a dangerous area.

Chris Hussey took aim and the ball ricocheted into the box, eventually forcing a smart save out of Kieran O’Hara.

After a somewhat frantic opening period, the game settled with the visitors looking to control possession.

A tussle between Ashley and Antoni Sarcevic saw both remain down and require treatment after the pair went into to challenge for the same ball, but luckily both were able to continue.

Garner’s men were looking particularly dangerous on the counter-attack, with Newby at the heart of several driving runs that ultimately lacked a quality pass in the final third.

After picking up a knock earlier, Fraser Horsfall could not continue and was withdrawn after twenty-five minutes, with Ryan Johnson entering the fray and slotting in at right-back.

Stockport won their first corner of the match not long after, Hussey trotted over to take and delivered a ball was of no danger, and the U’s could clear their lines.

Matt Jay won his side a corner up the other end and the ball in was only half cleared to Ashley on the edge of the box, whose strike was deflected on to the roof of the net.

The resulting set piece was put in by Connor Wood, but it was deep and Connor Hall could only direct his headed effort off target.

Hussey went close up the other end, sending a half volley whistling wide of the goal to the relief of the U’s defence.

Another chance went beckoning for the visitors after Will Collar got in behind. His cross found a yellow shirt but a stretched effort trickled past the post.

However, the visitors scored from the resulting corner, the ball was met in the box by Wootton who head home to give Stockport the lead.

Jay went close to levelling the score with five to play in the first half. Junior Tchamadeu rifled a ball into the box and the forward was on hand to strike towards goal, but saw his shot blocked.

Hall needed some treatment after taking a bang on the head and by the time play had resumed, the fourth official had raised his board to show five minutes added on at the end of the first half.

Wootton had the best chance in added time, but Luke Chambers got back well to prevent a second for Stockport.

The referee signalled the break not long after, with Dave Challinor the happier of the two managers after forty-five minutes.

No changes from either side at the break and it was a good start from Stockport as they won a dangerous free-kick in the opening seconds.

Fiacre Kelleher was booked for the challenge resulting in the set piece, with Sarcevic whipping his effort onto the bar before the resulting scrap was cleared.

The U’s lacked a bit of cutting in the opening exchanges of the half and allowed the Hatters to control the game.

Stockport were closing gaps well and limiting Garner’s men to playing over the top in most of their attacks.

But there was not a lack of effort from the Essex side, who were pressing with intent and doing everything they could to find an opening against a resolute opposition.

Colchester went incredibly close with thirty minutes to go. Multiple attempts from U’s players to breach the goal were somehow kept out, with Tom Hopper and Hall the two culprits who almost levelled the game.

Connor Wood then went inches away. A fantastic ball in from Tchamadeu was met by the left-back, who hit his effort with control but put it the wrong side of the post.

Following the chances, the noise at the Jobserve went up and the U’s attacked on the front foot, although Stockport looked dangerous on the break.

The visitors made changes to nullify the threat Colchester were posing. With Akil Wright and Isaac Olaofe coming on to freshen things up.

Jayden Fevrier was the first U’s change, with Wood making way in an attacking switch.

And his introduction was not the only switch, with Freddie Sears and Emyr Huws both returning to the squad and making an appearance.

Huws was straight into the book for a challenge on Olaofe, much to the frustration of the Essex crowd.

With the subs struggling to make an impact, Garner rolled the dice again and brought on John Akinde who would be key in helping the U’s keep the ball in the Stockport half.

Shouts for handball were swiftly waved away after a shot appeared to strike the arm of a player in yellow, but the U’s were pushing for an equaliser in the final minutes.

Olaofe then was cautioned for a high challenge on Chambers, which on another day may have warranted a sending off.

Some excellent running from Fevrier got the U’s up the pitch and won a free-kick after being wiped out after beating three men.

More shouts for a penalty were waved away, with the referee not having any of the appeals from both players and fans.

Six minutes were added on at the end of the game, with the hosts still chasing what would be a precious leveller.

Akinde did well to win a corner for his side, but again the U’s could not convert in front of the home fans.

Stockport held on for the win, with the U’s heading to league leaders Leyton Orient next weekend in search of Ben Garner’s first three points as Head Coach.

Colchester XI: O’Hara, Chambers, Chilvers, Kelleher, Ashley (Huws, 76), Newby (Sears, 76), Jay (Akinde, 82), Tchamadeu, Wood (Fevrier, 70), Hopper, Hall

Subs: Smith, Greenidge, Sears, Akinde, Huws, Miranda, Fevrier

Stockport County XI: Hinchliffe, Knoyle, Byrnem Horsfall (Johnson, 26), Madden (Olaofe, 67), Sarcevic (Wright, 67), Collar (Camps, 84), Croasdale, Wootton, Hippolyte, Hussey

Subs: Jaros, Wright, Camps, Johnson, Stretton, Rydel, Olaofe

Attendance: 3,530 (473)


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