Colchester United 1-2 Cambridge United
COLCHESTER UNITED supporters trudged out of the JobSevere Community Stadium somewhat bewildered after witnessing their side slip to defeat in what was the proverbial ‘game of two halves with East Anglian neighbours Cambridge United.
Indeed, it has been a worrying start to the Sky Bet League Two season for the U’s, who currently have only one point to show from their opening three outings. However, the early stages of this punchy encounter offered little sign of struggle from John McGreal’s men.
Colchester largely dominated the opening period, enjoying a large percentage of possession and forging ahead in the ninth minute thanks to a Luke Norris penalty.
Paul Lewis was clumsy on the busy Ben Stevenson – Norris dispatching the spot-kick with aplomb, much to the delight of the home crowd.
But Colchester failed to capitalise on that advantage. Far too often the direct route to goal was ignored in favour of fluency, offering little in the way of a genuine threat and eventually handing the visitors a way back into the contest.
Cambridge boss Colin Calderwood confirmed that a few ‘home truths’ had been bandied about during the interval, and that was notable as his side took control after the resumption.
It came as little surprise when Marc Richards profited from a pinpoint Leon Davies centre to restore parity. And although Colchester appeared to have withstood the second half Cambridge storm, substitute Harry Darling spectacularly hooked another Davies cross goalwards and wheeled away in delight after U’s stopper Dean Gerken allowed the ball to slip through his legs to confirm all three points.
Disgruntled home fans let their feelings be known on the final whistle, with manager McGreal taking the brunt of the criticism. Nevertheless, the U’s chief was as equally baffled by another Jekyll and Hyde display from his side, explaining: “Yes, it’s a little bit of a common thing, really. I think you look at Plymouth last week – Today, before they’ve scored we should be running away with the game.
“We’ve ran away with the game, we’ve dominated it, we’ve pulled them all over the place – I said before, we need that clinical edge.”
Meanwhile, Cambridge boss, Calderwood, added: When we were bad, we were very bad. But the substance of the victory is a little bit of perseverance and a bit of luck where Colchester didn’t score another goal in that first half period.”
Colchester United: Dean Gerken, Ryan Jackson, Luke Prosser, Courtney Senior (Luke Gambin 73’ mins), Luke Norris, Jevani Brown, Brandon Comley, Tom Eastman, Ryan Clampin (Cameron James 33’), Ben Stevenson, Frank Nouble Subs not used: Ethan Ross, Omar Sowunmi, Noah Chilvers, Andre Hasanally, Kwame Poku
Cambridge United: Dimitar Mitov, George Taft, Greg Taylor, Luke Hannant, Andy Dallas (Sam Smith 64’), George Maris (Harvey Knibbs 82’), Harrison Dunk, Leon Davies, Marc Richards (Harry Darling 74’), Reggie Lambe, Paul Lewis Subs not used: Callum Burton, Dan Jones, Louis John, Tom Knowles
Referee: Antony Coggins
Assistants: Bhupinder Gill and Oliver Jackson
Fourth Official: Stephen Finch