Colchester United 2-2 Mansfield Town
Frank Nouble’s superb late strike earned Colchester United a share of the Sky Bet League Two spoils against an in-form Mansfield Town side at an icy JobServe Community Stadium.
Without a win in ten and slipping dangerously close to the dropzone, Colchester couldn’t have made a worse start as experienced central defender, Tommy Smith, turned the ball into his own net from close range following a Mansfield raid from the right – George Maris playing a prominent role in the move.
Nouble slipped the Stags off-side trap but fired into the side netting from an acute angle. But when Callum Harriott found some room, he sent a low, right-footed strike beyond Aidan Stone and into the far corner of the visitors’ net.
Former Southend United man, Stephen McLaughlin, fired wide as Mansfield started the second period on the front foot. But the game had largely lost its way, with neither side able to stamp their authority on what was turning into an insipid contest.
But with time running out, the game sparked into life and Mansfield regained their earlier advantage. James Perch was on hand to supply the finish after substitute Mal Benning had fashioned an opening.
The U’s swarmed forward frantically in a bid to salvage the match. Nouble provided the perfect response, turning on the proverbial sixpence before brilliantly firing high into the net from an angle.
The point kept Colchester at arms-length from the relegation places, although pressure continues to mount on manager Steve Ball as the worrying winless sequence continues.
Colchester United return to Sky Bet League Two action on Saturday, February 20 when they head to the People’s Pension Stadium to face Crawley Town (3pm).
Colchester United: Shamal George, Miles Welch-Hayes, Josh Doherty (Ryan Clampin 69’), Tom Lapslie (Noah Chilvers 80’), Tommy Smith (Capt), Courtney, Senior (Ben Stevenson 69’), Harry Pell, Callum Harriott, Tom Eastman, Kwame Poku (Aramide Oteh 85’), Frank Nouble Subs not used: Dean Gerken (GK), Omar Sowunmi, Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu
Booked: Harry Pell (foul)
Goals: Callum Harriott 39’, Frank Nouble 89’
Mansfield Town: Aidan Stone, Ryan Sweeney, Farrend Rawson, Harry Charsley, Ollie Clarke, Jordan Bowery, George Maris, James Perch, Stephen Quinn (Mal Benning 80’), Jamie Reid, Stephen McLaughlin Subs not used: Marek Stech (GK), Corey O’Keefe, Aaron O’Driscoll, James Clarke, Tyrese Sinclair, Jason Law
Goals: Tommy Smith (own-goal) 5’, James Perch 81’
Assistants: M.Wilson and M.Desborough
Fourth Official: M.Chard