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Report | Injury-time Strike Sinks U's

Harrogate inflict harsh defeat on Colchester

10 February 2024

Club News

Report | Injury-time Strike Sinks U's

Harrogate inflict harsh defeat on Colchester

10 February 2024

Colchester United have been beaten by a late goal at Harrogate Town, ending a run of four matches without defeat.

The U’s put in a good first half performance, but failed to take their chances before the break.

And the hosts came out fighting in the second period to make it a more even contest. The U’s were still on top, but didn’t make their efforts count as Jack Muldoon netted a late winner for the hosts in the third minute of stoppage time.

Danny Cowley named a team with a single, enforced change from last weekend’s action at home to Forest Green Rovers – Arthur Read missed out with a calf strain,  with McGeehan taking his place in the starting eleven.

The change brought a change of position for Noah Chilvers as McGeehan slotted in as one of the three attacking midfielders behind Hopper, flanked by Fevrier and Anderson. However, the back four remained unchanged, with Goodman in behind a defensive line of Iandolo, Hall, Harbottle and Richardson.

Danny Cowley’s side made a bright start to the game with good efforts from McGeehan and Chilvers in the very early stages of the game. Both had Belshaw worried, with Smith and Anderson also trying their luck in an opening fifteen minutes of attacking Colchester play that was only interrupted by one simple save for Goodman from Muldoon.

The hosts started to get a foothold in the game from the twenty minute mark, with Abraham Odoh proving to be a dangerous presence on the left flank. Twice he was allowed to cut in and shoot, but both times Goodman was able to save.

And Odoh showed a good piece of skill and quick turn of pace to sneak the ball beyond Harbottle – the U’s man felt the need to bring him down with the referee issuing a yellow card to the Hibs loanee. Cameron McGeehan was also harshly carded for a foul in the first half.

But the U’s soon got back to attacking the home end, with Fevrier providing a good outlet on the right wing for the visitors. He had the beating of his man, but couldn’t find the end product in the middle to break the deadlock.

Noah Chilvers then went closest so far with ten minutes to play in the first half. Collecting the ball on the edge of the penalty area, he took aim for the top corner, only to be denied by a fine Belshaw save, as the Harrogate ‘keeper pushed his shot out for a corner.

The U’s went close to taking the lead again just before the break. Jayden Fevrier’s curling effort looked destined for the far corner before an outstretched leg of a home defender took the shot away from goal – the scores remained level at the break.

There were no changes at the break for either side, with the U’s starting as they had in the first half. Harry Anderson had the first shot for the visitors within three minutes after neat play between Smith and Harbottle, but the attacking man couldn’t hit the target with Belshaw beaten.

Ten minutes later, Owen Goodman was booked for timewasting while taking goal kick, just before Colchester had another close attempt on goal. Noah Chilvers took the corner, with Connor Hall rising highest, but only diverting his effort outside the far post.

But Cowley’s side had to be careful of the counter attack, with Goodman making a fine save at the other end soon after. A quick break from the hosts allowed Thomson to cross to an unmarked Odoh at the back post – he controlled the delivery well, but was soon smothered by Goodman.

With twenty minutes to play, the U’s made their first change of the afternoon as Jayden Fevrier was replaced by Jay Mingi, making his first outing since the end of November. And two further changes came three minutes later with Matt Jay and John Akinde brought on for Cameron McGeehan and Tom Hopper.

The final change came with thirteen to play – Conor Wilkinson replaced Noah Chilvers in the middle of the park.

Colchester United started to tire towards the end of the game after a battling performance against the Yorkshire side, although the four substitutes kept running to try and keep the pressure on the hosts.

But the hosts bagged a late winner courtesy of Jack Muldoon in the third minute of stoppage time. A low shot wasn’t dealt with, as Muldoon pounced on the loose ball to snatch all three points for his side.

The full time whistle blew a minute later.

Next up is a home match against Grimsby Town on Tuesday evening at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Harrogate Town starting XI: Belshaw, Abu, Thomson, Cornelius, Odoh, Daly, O’Connor, Muldoon, Dooley, Foulds, Gibson.

Subs: Mitchell, Falkingham, Burrell, Sutton, Sivi, March, Bloxham.

Colchester United starting XI: Goodman, Iandolo, Hall, Chilvers (Wilkinson 76’), McGeehan (Jay 73’), Hopper (Akinde 73’), Anderson, Harbottle, Richardson, Smith, Fevrier (Mingi 70’).

Subs: Hornby, Dallison, Jay, Wilkinson, Edwards, Mingi, Akinde.

Attendance: 2,706

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