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Report | U's Battle To A Point At Tranmere

Smith cancels out early Morris header

1 April 2024

Club News

Report | U's Battle To A Point At Tranmere

Smith cancels out early Morris header

1 April 2024

Colchester United battled to pick up a point on their travels at Tranmere Rovers in the latest Sky Bet League Two action.

The U’s found themselves behind early on in a breathless first ten minutes as Kieron Morris nodded home from close range.

But less than sixty seconds later, Colchester United were back on level terms with Ali Smith blasting home from the edge of the penalty area.

The home side would have been frustrated not to take all three points after creating more chances, but the U’s could have won the game too, with McGeehan striking the woodwork and Ihionvien forcing a good save out of McGee.

Taking a point, the U’s drop into the bottom two after a comfortable win for Sutton United against Swindon Town – up next, Colchester United host Wrexham at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Colchester United boss Danny Cowley made two changes to the team that started against Newport County on Good Friday, with both Tom Dallison and John Akinde dropping to the bench.

Ellis Iandolo and Tom Hopper came in to take their places, as the U’s chose to stick with the 3-5-2 formation that brought them joy against the Exiles on Friday. Goodman was behind a back three of Hall, Mingi and Iandolo, with Anderson and Fevrier on the flanks. McGeehan, Read and Smith created a midfield trio, while Hopper and Ihionvien led the line up front.

There was a late change to the bench, with Conor Wilkinson coming in for Samson Tovide, who appeared to pick up an injury in the warm up.

The opening ten minutes saw two goals in quick succession, with the first coming for the hosts. Rob Apter made the run down the right flank and was able to deliver the cross for an unmarked Kieron Morris to head in.

No more than sixty seconds had passed when the U’s found their equaliser though, with Ali Smith blasting in an effort from the edge of the penalty area. The Lincoln City loanee watched the ball onto his right foot and picked his spot beyond McGee in the bottom corner of the net.

Despite the U’s equaliser, the hosts were the team on top in the opening twenty minutes. Owen Goodman was called into action to deny Connor Jennings’ volley from a tight angle, before Connor Hall cleared from under his own crossbar as Morris tried to restore the lead for his side.

The home team kept the pressure on and had two good shots towards goal before the half hour mark. Apter took aim from the apex of the penalty area, with his effort bending just around the post, before Jennings tried his luck with the outside of his boot, seeing his effort bounce wide of the mark, although Owen Goodman had both covered.

Apter was proving dangerous and was the cause of two of the first three bookings in the game. Fevrier and McGeehan were both carded for fouls on the wide man, while Connor Hall was cautioned for timewasting with five to play in the first half; Jennings was booked for the hosts for a nasty challenge on Arthur Read on the stroke of half time.

Despite the hosts creating most of the chances in the first half, the U’s would have felt they were unlucky not to have been leading at the break. In the four minutes of stoppage time allowed, Ellis Iandolo broke forward and forced a good save out of Luke McGee. The Tranmere ‘keeper then got back up quickly to prevent both Brad Ihionvien and Cameron McGeehan from close range, with the referee signalling for half time soon after.

Danny Cowley made one change at half time with Brad Ihionvien replaced by Noah Chilvers at the start of the second period, with the U’s showing encouraging signs early on.

Arthur Read curled a free kick just over the bar before Cameron McGeehan struck the woodwork from inside the penalty area with ten minutes gone. Tom Hopper delivered a low cross that allowed McGeehan to control and shoot, but a fingertip save from McGee prevented Colchester from taking the lead.

The U’s made their second change with half an hour to play, bringing on Tom Dallison for Jayden Fevrier. This allowed Ellis Iandolo to move further out wide with Dallison joining the back three. Former Colchester striker Luke Norris made way for Harvey Saunders for the hosts’ first change.

Tranmere made their second change with just over fifteen to play, with Josh Hawkes coming on for the dangerous Rob Apter, as the hosts started to press.

Owen Goodman was called into action to stop Morris from giving his side the advantage, making an acrobatic save to push away the deflected effort. But the U’s had chances of their own, and forced McGee into a reaction save with his legs, denying Arthur Read’s swerving effort from distance.

Danny Cowley made a double change with five minutes to play, swapping the attacking duo of McGeehan and Hopper for Akinde and Wilkinson, after joining the bench late on due to an injury to Samson Tovide.

Another late change saw Fiacre Kelleher brought on in place of Jay Mingi, but neither side were able to find a winner in six minutes of stoppage time.

The U’s drop into the bottom two after a win for Sutton United, with Wrexham up next at the JobServe Community Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Tranmere Rovers starting XI: McGee, O’Connor, Davies, Turnbull, J. Norris, Apter (Hawkes 73’), McAlear, Hendry, Morris (Taylor 90'), Jennings, L. Norris (McAlear 63’).

Subs: Robson, Hawkes, Dennis, Merrie, Saunders, Taylor, Belehouan.

Colchester United starting XI: Goodman, Iandolo, Hall, McGeehan (Wilkinson 84’), Hopper (Akinde 84’), Read, Anderson, Mingi (Kelleher 88’), A. Smith, Fevrier (Dallison 59’), Ihionvien (Chilvers 46’).

Subs: Hornby, Kelleher, Dallison, Jay, Wilkinson, Chilvers, Akinde.

Attendance: 3,923 (167)

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