Late Trophy heartache for U’s

Brian Jeeves

Colchester United v Bristol Rovers – Papa John’s Trophy Round of 32 – JobServe Community Stadium – Report

Colchester United 1-2 Bristol Rovers

A goal from Bristol Rovers substitute, Harvey Saunders, five minutes into added time ended Colchester United’s involvement in the Papa John’s Trophy on a chilly evening at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Colchester boss, Matt Bloomfield, made one change to the side that emphatically saw off Doncaster Rovers at the weekend. Kieran O’Hara took over between the posts, replacing Sam Hornby, who picked up an injury in the latter stages of the Sky Bet League Two contest.

John Marquis, drilled an early effort wide of the target, while O’Hara produced a smart save to deny the former Millwall striker as Rovers started brightly.

O’Hara was earning his corn. The U’s stopper dived to his left to claw away Anthony Evans’ speculative strike. Meanwhile, Samson Tovide was a whisker away from adding to that spectacular strike against Doncaster. This time, his close-range header whistled wide after Alan Judge had picked him out.

Evans set another attempt over the top, while Marquis dragged wide as Rovers continued to mount the greater threat. In between, Tovide’s goalbound header was rebuffed as the home side looked to redress the balance.

Tovide was unable to divert goalwards after Judge had fashioned an opening, while McCormick fired into O’Hara’s midriff as the sides exchanged opportunities immediately after the restart. But with their next foray forward, Rovers snatched the lead. Bobby Thomas headed back across the goal for James Connolly to profit from close range. 

Substitute, Freddie Sears scuffed wide after finding room to the right of the goal. Rovers were forced into a change. Goalkeeper, Anssi Jaakkola, limped out of the action to be replaced by James Belshaw.

Colchester had displayed many of the positive attributes witnessed at the weekend. Noah Chilvers played in Sears, who crept in behind a static Rovers rearguard and levelled the score aided by a sizable deflection.

But the Rovers’ were to win it in stoppage time. O’Hara’s weak punch landed kindly for Saunders, who slid the ball home from two yards.

Colchester United return to Sky Bet League Two action on Saturday, December 3, when they face Mansfield Town at the One-Call Stadium (3pm).

Colchester United: Kieran O’Hara, Luke Chambers, Tommy Smith, Luke Hannant, Alan Judge (Matty Longstaff 55′), Ossama Ashley (Emyr Huws 46′), Alex Newby (Dan Chesters 82′), Junior Tchamadeu, Al-Amin Kazeem, Samson Tovide (Freddie Sears 55′), Frank Nouble (Noah Chilvers 74′) Subs not used: Ted Collins (GK), Tom Eastman

Booked: None

Goals: Freddie Sears 85′

Bristol Rovers: Anssi Jaakkola (James Belshaw 67′), James Connolly, Sam Finley (Jordan Rossiter 70′), John Marquis, Aaron Collins (Harvey Saunders 70′), Ryan Loft (Josh Coburn 46′), Trevor Clarke (Luca Hoole 82′), Anthony Evans, Luke McCormick, James Gibbons, Bobby Thomas Subs not used:  Alfie Kilgour, Zain Westbrooke

Booked: None

Goals: James Connolly 54′, Harvey Saunders 90+5′

Referee: Thomas Kirk

Assistants: Paul Kelly and Adrian Ranter

Fourth Official: Aji Ajibola

Attendance: 669 (50 from Bristol Rovers)


Brian Jeeves