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Colchester United v Bristol Rovers – Sky Bet League Two – JobServe Community Stadium – Report
Colchester United 1-1 Bristol Rovers
A wonderful strike from substitute, Noah Chilvers salvaged a share of the Sky Bet League Two spoils for Colchester United from a match that exploded into life in the final moments.
Hayden Mullins made one change to the side which started the U’s first home league victory of the season. Matchwinner, Sylvester Jasper replaced Noah Chilvers, who took his place amongst the substitutes.
A timely intervention from Rovers goalkeeper, James Belshaw and defender Alfie Kilgour blocked Freddie Sears’ route to goal after the former West Ham and Ipswich man seized on some hesitant defending from the visitors.
But it was nervy stuff from the home side. Rovers responded – Brett Pitman scuffed wide from a decent position after Antony Evans had expertly fashioned an opening from the right. Meanwhile, Sears was again thwarted. This time Cian Harries put his body on the line to deny the U’s frontman a sight of goal.
Rovers were enjoying the better of proceeds and almost took the lead on the stroke of half-time. U’s stopper, Shamal George awkwardly shovelling Pitman’s low strike onto the foot of an upright.
George and Pitman continued their duel immediately after the restart. This time the keeper clinging to the latter’s goalbound header after Luke Thomas had picked him out. Sam Nicholson wasn’t far away from distance as Rovers turned the screw.
And just before the hour, they took the lead. This time, Pitman made the breakthrough, glancing beyond the stranded George following a pinpoint flag-kick from Evans.
Kilgour blasted over a glorious opportunity to make it two, while Luke Chambers should also have done better, heading wide from close range as the U’s frustrations continued to mount.
Rovers had the game by the scruff of its neck. Former U’s loanee, Aaron Collins fired over. However, they were indebted to goalkeeper, James Belshaw for a terrific stop from Armando Dobra as Colchester pressed desperately for an equaliser.
Colchester was offered a glimmer of hope when Cian Harries received a second yellow card for time-wasting, and they made their numerical advantage pay almost immediately – Chilvers sending a thundering left-footed volley into the net after the visitors had only half-cleared the danger following a free-kick on the left-hand side.
The drama continued into stoppage time. Junior Tchamadeu and Trevor Clarke became embroiled in a skirmish that swiftly escalated. Referee, Graham Scott brandished a red card in the direction of both players.
The point leaves Colchester hovering three points above the dropzone. They return to Sky Bet League Two action on Saturday, October 23 when they take on Port Vale at Vale Park (3pm).
Colchester United: Shamal George, Luke Chambers, Brendan Wiredu, Luke Hannant, Cole Skuse (Noah Chilvers 46’), Frank Nouble, Freddie Sears, Sylvester Jasper (Armando Dobra 62’), Tom Eastman, Junior Tchamadeu, Charlie Daniels Subs not used: Jake Turner (GK), Tommy Smith, Gene Kennedy, Cameron Coxe, Samson Tovide
Booked: Brendan Wiredu (foul), Tom Eastman (foul), Luke Chambers (foul), Armando Dobra (foul)
Sent-Off: Junior Tchamadeu
Goals: Noah Chilvers 88’
Bristol Rovers: James Belshaw, Alfie Kilgour, Luke Thomas (Paul Coutts 78’), Aaron Collins (Luca Hoole 85’), Sam Nicholson (Trevor Clarke 80’), Connor Taylor, Harry Anderson, Antony Evans, Cian Harries, Glenn Whelan, Brett Pitman Subs not used: Zain Westbrooke, Nick Anderton, Sion Spence, Jed Ward
Booked: Cian Harries (foul), Paul Coutts (foul)
Sent-Off: Cian Harries (time-wasting – second yellow card), Trevor Clarke (violent conduct)
Goals: Brett Pitman 58’
Referee: Graham Scott
Assistants: Marc Perry and Matthew Wilkes
Fourth Official: James Bell
Attendance: 2,069 (257 from Bristol Rovers)