Matty Etherington succumbed to his first defeat as U’s Head Coach, falling to a 2-0 loss at the home of the league leaders, Stockport County.
A goal in either half for the hosts gave them the three points, extending their winning run to twelve games in League Two.
Kyle Wootton’s scrappy goal was the difference in the first half, before Callum Camps added the second less than a minute after the restart to ensure the hosts claimed the win.
The U’s now turn their attentions to the Bristol Street Motors Trophy, hosting League One Peterborough United on Tuesday evening at the JobServe Community Stadium.
Matty Etherington had perhaps one of the toughest opponents for his first game since being appointed permanent Head Coach at Colchester United, taking on league leaders Stockport County at Edgeley Park.
For the clash with the top side, Etherington named one change to the eleven that drew against Sutton United last weekend, with Joe Taylor missing through international duty, replaced by Jay Mingi.
It meant the U’s lined up in a more defensive, 5-2-3 shape, with Goodman behind three central defenders of Egbo, Mitchell and Dallison as Greenidge and Fevrier were given licence on the flanks. Arthur Read and Jay Mingi patrolled the midfield, with McGeehan and Chilvers just behind Tovide in attack.
The hosts started quickly, and looked to set the pace. Putting pressure on Goodman’s goal from the first couple of minutes, the league leaders were showing their intent to make it a twelfth consecutive win in the league.
However, the U’s were regimented at the back and limited the hosts to half chances, frustrating the home crowd.
A stricter referee may have penalised players with cards in the opening twenty minutes, with a couple of late challenges from both teams, but Collar, Tovide and Horsfall all escaped with just a talking to from the officials.
Colchester went closest to opening the scoring with almost thirty minutes of play gone, as Samson Tovide’s creative attempt rattled the woodwork. Jayden Fevrier got the better of his man on the right flank, with his delivery finding Tovide – the U’s number nine backheeled the cross on the volley with the effort smacking against the crossbar before being caught by the ‘keeper.
Odin Bailey was the first man into the book in the game, with the Stockport midfielder penalised for a foul on Mandela Egbo in the middle, after thirty minutes.
Further chances fell the U’s way with McGeehan and Chilvers both trying to curl the ball into the far corner, before the hosts broke the deadlock on the stroke of half time. Colchester hoped an offside flag would save them, but it never came as Southam-Hales drifted in from the right to deliver a ball for Wootton to knock in from close range.
The hosts would take their advantage into the second half, and make the first change of the game with Akil Wright replaced by Callum Camps.
Camps would enjoy his start to the half, adding a second for the hosts within sixty seconds of the restart – he volleyed into the bottom corner from a corner kick to make it 2-0 and an uphill battle for the U’s.
Bailey went close to adding a third three minutes later, weaving his way into the area from the left flank, but couldn’t control the effort from close range as it sailed wide of Goodman’s goal.
Soon after, Ethan Pye was shown a yellow card after preventing Tovide from escaping through the channels, as the U’s had a positive spell in the game.
The best chance fell to Tovide, after Greenidge, Chilvers and Mingi combined to work the ball into a dangerous position. The cross was targeted at the U’s number nine, but Hinchliffe was off his line quickly to smother the effort and prevent the goal.
Tovide was shortly booked, and replaced in a double change for the U’s; Bradley Ihionvien and Tom Hopper came on, with Will Greenidge also brought off with twenty minutes to play.
Another change followed with ten minutes to play as Chay Cooper was introduced, with the final whistle blowing and the hosts taking all three points soon after.
Following the defeat, the U’s now turn their attentions to Tuesday night’s Bristol Street Motors Trophy clash with Peterborough United, knowing a point will see them through to the knockout stages of the competition.
Stockport County starting XI: Hinchliffe, Touray, Wright (Camps 46’), Horsfall, Southam-Hales, Collar, Pye, Croasdale (Knoyle 83’), Wootton (Powell 90’), Olaofe, Bailey (Madden 83’).
Subs: J. Smith, Knoyle, Byrne, Camps, Madden, Powell, Richardson.
Colchester United starting XI: Goodman, Greenidge (Ihionvien 71’), Dallison, Tovide (Hopper 71’), Chilvers, McGeehan, Mitchell, Read, Egbo, Mingi (Cooper 83’), Fevrier.
Subs: T. Smith, Kelleher, Jay, Hopper, Cooper, Terry, Ihionvien.
Attendance: 9,664 (263)