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Report | U's Denied At The Death

Late Mansfield goal stops back-to-back home victories

16 September 2023

Mansfield Town left it late to secure a point against the U’s in the latest Sky Bet League Two action at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Colchester United picked up a first-half lead courtesy of Joe Taylor’s sixth of the season, and held their advantage at the break.

The U’s were the better side for long periods in the second half, but couldn’t make their superiority county though, as the Stags struck in the ninetieth minute to deny Colchester back-to-back wins in North Essex.

Ben Garner named an unchanged starting eleven from the side that won comfortably against Tranmere Rovers last weekend. In fact, there was just one change in the eighteen with Ronny Nelson coming in for Will Greenidge amongst the substitutes.

The players took their shape in the usual 3-5-2 formation, with Goodman in goal and the trio of Hall, Mitchell and Egbo sitting in front. Arthur Read recovered from a hand injury to start in defensive midfield, just behind Chilvers and McGeehan, with Kazeem and Fevrier out on the wings supporting Tovide and Taylor up front.

There were half-chances for either side in the opening ten minutes with both Fevrier and Reed trying their luck from distance, but neither was accurate enough to trouble the goalkeepers in the afternoon sunshine.

The U’s did, however, have to be on alert for a barrage of early Stags’ corners – Nigel Clough’s side were racking up the set pieces quickly, but failed to cause any real danger to Goodman’s goal.

Mansfield were becoming frustrated that their pressure on goal wasn’t resulting in an advantage for them, with Lewis taking his emotions out on Arthur Read with a late challenge – the midfielder escaped with just a word in the ear from the officials.

Two quick-fire chances fell the way of Joe Taylor, with both denied by Christy Pym in the Mansfield goal. Taylor was alert to pounce on a loose ball with his improvised effort palmed away, and a minute later he controlled a looping pass well before the legs of the ‘keeper denied him from close range.

It was third time lucky for the Luton Town loanee though, as he fired the U’s in front with an emphatic drive on the half hour mark. Arthur Read spotted his run with Taylor making no mistake, driving into the penalty area and rifling home with aplomb.

And the U’s were unlucky not to be two goals ahead five minutes later. Samson Tovide battled well to keep possession in a dangerous area, losing his man with a quick spin, but his effort bobbled just wide of the far post and out for a goal kick.

Ben Garner’s side made it back into the dressing room with their one-goal advantage, and emerged unchanged for the second period; the visitors made one change with Swan on for Gale.

The visitors had the first effort on goal of the second half, but it was a tame one from Davis Keillor-Dunn as Goodman was easily able to catch.  

There were changes for both sides on the hour mark with Cameron McGeehan withdrawn and replaced by Jay Minigi, with a double swap for the Stags. Johnson and Cargill took the places of Akins and Bowery.

Soon after, the first yellow card of the afternoon was issued. Louis Reed was cautioned for tripping Samson Tovide while the U’s were on a promising attack with twenty-five to play.

A couple of long-range efforts followed for the U’s who were struggling to penetrate the Stags’ eighteen-yard box, with Arthur Read’s shot panicking Chrsity Pym. The goalkeeper had to scramble back after a wicked deflection to collect on the line.

And another change came quickly for Mansfield, with Hiram Boateng replaced by Ollie Clarke with twenty minutes to play. Two bookings came quickly after with Cargill and Taylor both issued yellow cards, as the U’s opted to make two more changes before full-time.

John Akinde and Bradley Ihionvien came on to try and see out the game, or perhaps extend the U’s advantage in the final ten minutes, before another couple of bookings for Ben Garner’s side for time-wasting.

Jayden Fevrier and Noah Chilvers were both cautioned while the U’s were in front, but the visitors struck late on to secure a point and extend their unbeaten run.

Davis Keillor-Dunn was unmarked in the area and powerfully fired home to steal a point at the death for his side.

Neither side was able to claim a late winner with the points being shared. The U’s now sit eighteenth in League Two – with a break from league action to come on Tuesday night with Ben Garner’s side welcoming Tottenham Hotspur U21s in the EFL Trophy.

Colchester United starting XI: Goodman, Hall, Tovide (Ihionvien 81’), Chilvers, McGeehan (Mingi 60’), Mitchell, Read, Egbo, Taylor (Akinde 81’), Kazeem, Fevrier.

Subs: Smith, Bandeira, Mingi, Akinde, Nelson, Thomas, Ihionvien.

Mansfield Town starting XI: Pym, Akins (Cargill 60’), Bowery (Johnson 60’), MacDonald, Gale (Swan 46’), Flint, Lewis, Brunt, Reed, Keillor-Dunn, Boateng (Clarke 71’).

Subs: Flinders, Johnson, Cargill, Clarke, Cooper, Williams, Swan.

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