Garner tastes defeat as U’s continue to struggle

Colchester United v Stockport County – Sky Bet League Two – JobbServe Community Stadium – Report

Colchester United 0-1 Stockport County

With newly appointed head coach Ben Garner taking charge of Colchester United for the first time, the U’s fell to their fourth successive loss as Kyle Wootton’s first-half header proved to be the winner as Stockport County scooped the points at the JobsServe Community Stadium. 

The defeat leaves Colchester having now gone eight and a half hours without scoring a goal and just six points above the League Two relegation zone.

Garner made two changes from the team that lost 2-0 at Bradford City under interim boss Ross Embleton with Luke Chambers and Connor Hall coming in for Will Greenidge and Arthur Read.

Dave Challinor made three changes from the Stockport County team that drew 0-0 with Gillingham – Ryan Croasdale, Myles Hippolyte and Paddy Madden replacing Jacob Davenport, Tanto Olaofe and Ryan Rydel.

With just nine seconds on the clock, U’s had a big shout for a penalty after Junior Tchamadeu went to ground in the box, only for referee Declan Bourne to wave play on – much to the frustration of the home crowd.

The Hatter’s first chance came in the seventh minute when Chris Hussey’s free-kick was pushed away by the Republic of Ireland international keeper Kieran O’Hara and with the ball bouncing around in the box following a goalmouth scramble, Will Collar managed to get a touch on the ball that O’Hara again saved well from close range.

Just after the half-hour mark, Noah Chilvers’ corner fell to Ossama Ashley just outside the box only for his shot to take a big deflection and land on the roof of the net. 

Stockport also went close shortly after when Hippolyte and then Chris Hussey both fired wide of both posts respectively.

Just nine minutes before half-time, Hussey’s corner was headed across the box by substitute Ryan Johnson for Wootton to nod home from close range – his twelfth goal of the season – to break the deadlock and in stoppage time, Wootton had the chance to put County two up when being played through one-on-one by captain Paddy Madden, only for O’Hara to narrow the angle and push the ball wide of the right post.

Just three minutes after the restart, following Fiacre Kelleher’s foul on Hippolyte just outside the box, Antoni Sarcevic’s curling free struck the inside of the left post and bounced away to safety – a stroke of good fortune that seemed to spur U’s on to their best period of play in the match as following this, skipper Luke Chambers’s header was blocked by Ryan Croasdale and Tchamadeu’s cross from the right found Connor Wood to fire past the far post.

With just under ten minutes left, Kyle Knoyle ran through into the box only to blast high over the bar and a brave Kelleher block late on denied substitute Callum Camps as Stockport broke forward. 

Following these chances, County played out the remainder of the match with relative ease to claim the 1-0 win and move up to fifth in the table.

Despite Colchester working hard for each other and passing the ball well, their efforts failed to create any real chances throughout the game and with Tom Hopper looking totally isolated leading the line on his own, their lack of creativity and firepower upfront will undoubtedly be a great concern to new boss Garner.

Colchester United return to Sky Bet League Two action on Saturday, March 18 when they face leaders, Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road (3pm).

Colchester United: O’Hara, Chambers, Chilvers, Kelleher, Ashley (Huws 76’), Newby (Sears 76’) Jay (Akinde, 82) Tchamadeu, Wood (Fevrier, 70′) Hopper, Hall Subs not used: Smith, Greenidge, Miranda

Stockport County: Hinchliffe, Byrne, Horsfall (R. Johnson 26’) Hussey, Knoyle, Collar (Camps 84’) Croasdale, Sarcevic (Wright, 67’) Hippolyte, Madden (Capt.) (Olaofe 67’) Wootton Subs not used: Jaros, Stretton, Rydel

Referee: Declan Bourne

Assistant Referees: Paul Lister-Flynn and Joseph Stokes

Fourth Official: Conor Farrell

Attendance: 3,530 (473 from Stockport County)