Jasper late winner ends U’s winless home run

Colchester United v Harrogate Town – Sky Bet League Two – JobServe Community Stadium – Report

Colchester United 1-0 Harrogate Town

Substitutes Sylvester Jasper struck in the final stages to earn Colchester United their first home Sky Bet League Two victory of the season as high-flying Harrogate Town were dispatched in an otherwise ugly encounter at the JobServe Community Stadium.

U’s boss, Hayden Mullis was a man under pressure. The U’s went into the game without a home league win to their name all season and without a league goal in 370 minutes ahead of kick-off.

And with dwindling crowds and discontent commonplace at the JobServe, seemingly the last thing the U’s needed was a visit from free-scoring Harrogate – fresh from skittling Scunthorpe United by six goals to one, and looking every bit promotion contenders under the guidance of Sim Weaver.

Indeed, it was far from a perfect start from the home side. George Thompson had the ball in the net, only to be denied by an offside flag, while Wil Smith’s goalbound header was comfortably collected by Shamal George as the Yorkshiremen enjoyed the better of the early exchanges.

Colchester lacked confidence and creativity – an accusation which could reasonably be levelled consistently during the seasons’ infancy. Frontmen Frank Nouble and Freddie Sears often appeared isolated – it was uninspiring and underwhelming fare for the 2,439 audience.

Nouble ran into traffic, while Luke Hannant’s involvement from the right flank, coupled with the energy of Noah Chilvers offered Colchester a little more positivity immediately after the restart.

But Chilvers was to be replaced by Jasper – Colchester wobbled and survived a narrow escape when substitutes Lloyd Kerry’s close-range strike came down of the underside of the bar – Jack Diamond fashioning the opening – No goalline technology and no cigar for the frustrated Sulphurites.

Nouble blazed wide from ten yards after Jasper had teed him up, while Kerry was also off target for the visitors’ as mediocrity in front of goal remained the order of the day. Nevertheless, Colchester now had what of a bit there was between their teeth and was applying a little more pressure in a bid to snatch something late in the contest.

Jasper’s dipping free-kick came back of the face of the bar as Colchester edged closer and with three minutes to go they made the all-important breakthrough. Brendan Wiredu broke from deep and teed up Jasper – the Fulham loanee providing a terrific finish, dispatching low beyond Harrogate keeper, Mark Oxley with a neat, angled effort.

In truth, Colchester had won ugly – the goal, a quality moment and out of context with what had gone before. The result moved the U’s up to nineteenth in the table, three points clear of the dropzone. They return to Sky Bet League Two action on Tuesday, October 19 when Bristol Rovers visit the JobServe Community Stadium (7:45pm). The U’s then take on Port Vale at Vale Park on Saturday 23 (3pm).

Colchester United: Shamal George, Luke Chambers, Brendan Wiredu, Luke Hannant, Cole Skuse, Frank Nouble (Samson Tovide 83’), Freddie Sears, Noah Chilvers (Sylvester Jasper 63’), Tom Eastman, Junior Tchamadeu, Charlie Daniels Subs not used: Jake Turner (GK), Tommy Smith, Armando Dobra, Gene Kennedy, Cameron Coxe

Booked: Luke Chambers (foul)
Goals: Sylvester Jasper 87’

Harrogate Town: Mark Oxley, Ryan Fallowfield, Josh Falkingham (Aaron Martin 90’), Will Smith, Warren Burrell, George Thomson (Lloyd Kerry 62’), Alex Pattison, Jack Muldoon, Connor Hall, Jack Diamond, Luke Armstrong (Danilo Orsi 90’) Subs not used: Joe Cracknell, Nathan Sheron, Simon Power

Booked: Connor Hall (foul), George Thompson (foul)
Goals: None

Referee: Tom Reeves
Assistants: Joseph Stokes and Daniel Bonneywell
Fourth Official: Damith Bandara

Attendance: 2,439 (93 from Harrogate Town)

Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]