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John McGreal reflects on Colchester United’s penalty-taker debate

PUBLISHED: 06:30 27 November 2017

Mikael Mandron has a header at goal during the U's 2-1 defeat at Notts County. Mandron later had a penalty saved. Picture: RICHARD BLAXALL

Mikael Mandron has a header at goal during the U's 2-1 defeat at Notts County. Mandron later had a penalty saved. Picture: RICHARD BLAXALL

2017 Pagepix

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, assumed that Sammie Szmodics was going to take the penalty during Saturday’s frustrating 2-1 defeat at Notts County.

Szmodics had converted the U’s previous penalty, in a 3-1 defeat at Cheltenham in September, but instead it was fellow striker Mandron who took on the spot-kick responsibility at Meadow Lane.

Unfortunately, Mandron’s rather weak penalty was saved by keeper Ross Fitzsimons, just nine minutes after Shola Ameobi had broken the deadlock with a successful penalty at the other end of the pitch.

Sanmi Odelusi seemed to have rescued a point for the U’s, thanks to his first goal for the club in the 89th minute, only for Ryan Yates to head home an injury-time winner.

“We were all debating it a little bit, because Szmods (Szmodics) took the last penalty, at Cheltenham, so we were all expecting Sammie to pick up the ball,” admitted McGreal.

“But Mikael has grabbed it and you think – ‘OK, fair enough, he has the bottle to take the ball’ – but we all know what happened after that.

“Once Mikael has grabbed it, that’s it really – you try and get it off him! I’m sure if Sammie had wanted it, then he would have got the ball.

“But again we’ve come back, and Mikael has put in a great ball for Sam (Odelusi) to slot it away well. It was a great goal, and a composed finish by Sam.

“It was a good moment for him, because he has shown a lot of determination and application on the training field,” added McGreal.

Overall, it was a disappointing afternoon for the U’s, and boss McGreal, because the U’s performance had merited at least a point.

- Carl Marston’s 5 Talking Points

“I’m very disappointed,” confirmed McGreal.

“I thought we were excellent in the first half, but we had nothing to show for it, because I thought we should have been a goal or two up. Overall, I thought we were fantastic.

“We should never have lost this game today, I think a blind man could have seen that.

“Some of the individual performances, and the collective way we played as a team, were excellent. We passed the ball very well at times, so to lose the game was disappointing.

“But from where we have come from over the last few months, performance-wise we were excellent.”

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