U’s lack a cutting edge as ten-man Cobblers take the points

Colchester United v Northampton Town – Sky Bet League Two – JobServe Community Stadium – Report

Colchester United 0-1 Northampton Town

Colchester United’s early-season optimism was somewhat deflated as a compact and efficient Northampton Town side snaffled the Sky Bet League Two points on a frustrating afternoon at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Resolve and passion displayed during recent trips to Carlisle and Birmingham deserted the North Essex side, particularly during the opening period.

Northampton arrived in North Essex having edged out Port Vale by a goal to nil in their opening league fixture – following that result with an impressive Carabao Cup success at Coventry City. Aaron McGowan was too high with the best of the Cobblers early opportunities.

Indeed, Northampton had started the brighter and they opened the scoring shortly after the twenty-minute mark. Shamal George did well to keep out Jon Guthrie’s initial header. However, with the U’s stopper stranded, the Cobblers man reacted quickly to sweep into an empty net. Question marks of the hosts’ defending – Sam Hoskins’ centre reaching its target without defiance from a static U’s rearguard.

A goal behind, Colchester’s approach became scrappy and nervous. Frank Nouble lacked support when tiptoeing in from the byline, while Sylvester Jasper – so impressive during the midweek clash at St Andrew’s – fired directly at Liam Roberts – the U’s appearing to lack ideas in the final third during an otherwise lacklustre first-half display.

Colchester survived another scare on the stroke of the whistle when Tottenham loanee, Kion Etete saw his effort cleared off the line by Luke Chambers. Returning with a flea in their ear, it was Colchester who was first to threaten. Roberts produced a superb one-handed save to deny Brendan Wiredu after the bustling Nouble had fashioned an opening.

Colchester had found their feet, but not that elusive goal touch. Roberts raced from his line to thwart substitute Freddie Sears – the returning striker should have done better after finding himself with time and space, but lacking composure.

Jasper was snubbed out from close range as Colchester began to turn the screw. Nevertheless, Hoskins almost doubled the visitors’ advantage with a fizzing effort from distance that dipped over the top.

Colchester were handed a lifeline of sorts when Fraser Horsfall was red-carded for an inexplicable and very blatant handball. But the home side continued to huff and puff during the final stages – their goal drought – now three games – a worry as the season starts to take shape.

Colchester United return to Sky Bet League Two action on Tuesday, August 17 when Mansfield Town visit the JobServe Community Stadium (7:45pm).

Colchester United: Shamal George, Ryan Clampin, Luke Chambers, Tommy Smith, Brendan Wiredu (Freddie Sears 58’), Cole Skuse, Frank Nouble, Alan Judge, Sylvester Jasper (Noah Chilvers 80’), Tom Eastman, Cameron Coxe (Luke Hannant 58’) Subs not used: Jake Turner (GK), Miles Welch-Hayes, Gene Kennedy, Junior Tchamadeu

Booked: None
Goals: None

Northampton Town: Liam Roberts, Aaron McGowan, Jon Guthrie, Fraser Horsfall, Sam Hoskins, Paul Lewis, Nicke Kabamba, Mitch Pinnock (Ali Koiki 76’), Shaun McWilliams, Kion Etete (Danny Rose 56’), Joseph Mills (Sid Nelson 86’) Subs not used: Dylan Connolly, Scott Pollock, Benny Ashley-Seal, Jonny Maxted

Booked: Mitch Pinnock (foul), Sam Hoskins (foul)
Sent-off: Fraser Horsfall (deliberate handball)
Goals: Jon Guthrie 22’

Referee: T. Kettle
Assistants: N. Cooper and S. Finch
Fourth Official: A. Dale

Attendance: 2,772 (446 from Northampton Town)

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]