Leaders County edge out battling U’s

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

Colchester United 1-2 Stockport County

Colchester United’s Sky Bet League Two relegation concerns remain on red alert after leaders Stockport County all but secured promotion with a hard-fought victory at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Despite a similarly frustrating setback on Saturday at the hands of Wrexham, U’s boss, Danny Cowley, remained upbeat: “I think for me personally, it’s always easy to look forward because I’m always excited for what is to come and I woke up this morning with eighteen days left, six games to go, and everything to play for,” he explained.

“I’ve been lucky enough to meet and to work with some extraordinary people in my life and I’ve never met anybody that can change history and can go back in and affect what’s happened in the past.

“It’s always about taking the learning and moving forward. And I felt even though Saturday was a painful experience, it was a positive one because I thought we learned a lot. I thought we learned a lot about ourselves, particularly when we go into leading games, how we want to be, and what we want to stand for.

“It was good that the learning came now, and we still have six games to go rather than the learning coming much later because then maybe you don’t have so much time to try to influence what happens next.”

Heavy traffic on the A12 hindered supporters of both clubs from reaching the stadium in time for kick-off. Those inside witnessed Tanto Olaofe and Paddy Madden pass up decent opportunities for the visitors in the opening minutes. The latter was denied by a superb reaction save from U’s stopper Owen Goodman.

Colchester were spirited but carried very little threat. John Akinde forced Ben Hinchliffe to save with his feet as the hosts began to find their feet. But before they could make further headway, the U’s fell behind disastrously. Goodman allowed Nick Powell’s speculative strike to squirm through him and into the net.

But on the stroke of half-time, Colchester equalised. Cameron McGeehan arrived at the far post to sweep home Arthur Read’s flag-kick. A lift for the U’s at a time when perhaps they least expected it. 

Antoni Sarcervic should have done better soon after the restart, blazing over after another moment of uncertainty from Goodman. Indeed, the U’s stopper was indebted to an off-side flag to save his blushes after Fraser Horsfall’s header squeezed past him.

Nevertheless, the U’s continued to match their lofty opponents for sheer effort. Read’s effort fizzed narrowly wide, while Noah Chilvers’ strike was deflected away. 

However, just after the hour, Stockport regained their earlier advantage. Madden was on hand to stab home after Ethan Bristow’s cross had been knocked back by Connor Evans.

Colchester passed up a glorious opportunity to immediately hit back when McGeehan’s spot-kick was saved by Hinchliffe after Powell had been adjudged to have impeded Tom Hopper. 

The defeat left Colchester second from bottom in the table, a point behind Sutton United who have played two games more. The U’s return to Sky Bet League Two action on Saturday, April 13 when they face Crawley Town at the Broadfield Stadium (3pm).

Colchester United: Goodman, Iandolo, Kelleher (Dallison, 69′), Hall, Chilvers, McGeehan, Hopper (Tovide, 69′), Read, Anderson (Fevrier, 40′), Mingi, Akinde Subs not used: Hornby, Allison, Richardson, Smith, Ihionvien

Booked: Kelleher (foul), Mingi (foul), McGeehan (foul)

Goals: McGeehan 45′

Stockport County: Hinchliffe. Knoll, Byrne, Horsfall, Madden (Wooton, 64′), Sarcervic (Camps, 64′), Powell, Pye, Bristow (Hippolyte, 76′), Evans (Barry, 64′), Olaofe (Bailey, 87′) Subs not used: Smith, Richards

Booked: Horsfall (foul), Knoyle (foul), Powell (foul)

Goals: Powell 31′, Madden 61′

Referee: Ben Atkinson

Assistants: Adrian Tranter and Paul Lister-Flynn

Fourth Official: Paul Kelly

Attendance: 4,118 (736 from Stockport County) 

Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk