Notts County 2 Colchester United 1: Carl Marston’s 5 Talking Points
PUBLISHED: 11:55 26 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:55 26 November 2017
Colchester United suffered late heartbreak at Notts County, conceding an injury-time goal to Ryan Yates in a 2-1 defeat yesterday. Here are U’s writer Carl Marston’s 5 Talking Points:
A TALE OF TWO SPOT KICKS
It may have all boiled down to an injury-time winner, but Saturday was a case of two penalties, one scored and one missed.
Shola Ameobi, the 36-year-old former Newcastle United striker, dispatched his 68th minute spot kick with deadly precision, firing into the roof of the net past keeper Sam Walker.
By contrast, Mikael Mandron’s penalty, just nine minutes later, was more tentative and certainly lacked conviction.
Keeper Ross Fitzsimons did well to push away Mandron’s low penalty, but it did not require a great save to thwart the U’s striker.
It was a little perplexing that Sammie Szmodics, who had taken the U’s previous penalty, successfully at Cheltenham, did not take Saturday’s spot kick.
DESERVED A POINT
The U’s deserved a draw, at the very least, from their latest trip to Meadow Lane, but instead they suffered their eighth away defeat at Notts County on the bounce, a miserable record stretching back 15 years.
John McGreal’s men were the better team in the first half, creating the better of the few scoring opportunities, including a goalbound header by Mandron which was diverted wide of the post by his own team-mate, Tom Eastman.
The visitors restricted the Magpies to very few opportunities in that first period, and although the tables were turned in the second half, Walker did not have too many worrying moments in the U’s goal.
Sanmi Odelusi’s equaliser, on 89 minutes, should have been enough to extend the U’s recent run to just one defeat in their last 11 games, but alas, there was a sting in the tail.
It was rough luck on the U’s.
COUNTY’S PROMOTION CREDENTIALS
Notts County have been a club transformed under manager Kevin Nolan, since his arrival last January.
Ex-Bolton stalwart Nolan guided the Magpies away from the relegation zone during the second half of last term, and has now seen them rise to joint top of League Two, thanks mainly to a superb home record.
The U’s gave them a very tough game, but the Magpies have now extended their unbeaten home record to 10 league games this season, with eight wins and two draws.
They achieved their latest success even without experienced strikers Jon Steed (dead leg) and Jonathan Forte (concussion) in the squad.
Certainly, they have benefited from a couple of inspired loan signings from near-neighbours Nottingham Forest, in the shape of Ryan Yates and Jorge Grant.
Midfielder Yates was the best player on the park on Saturday, earning the penalty from which Ameobi scored, and then netting the late winner with a header at the far post from Grant’s corner.
Winger Grant did not enjoy his best game against the U’s, conceding the penalty from which Mandron missed, but he has already bagged 13 goals this season.
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
The U’s took a team, second in the table, to the wire, which proves that they have genuine promotion credentials of their own.
Despite Saturday’s defeat, they remain just three points adrift of the play-of zone, after 20 games, a notable achievement given their very poor start to the season.
Again their defence looked strong, right up until the moment that they failed to deal with the injury-time corner that led to the Yates’ winning goal.
The trio of Tom Eastman, Ryan Inniss and Frankie Kent have a good partnership going at the back, and a solid defence is always a good starting point for any team.
They were also well protected by the U’s central midfield duo of Tom Lapslie and Brandon Comley.
So despite this defeat, the U’s have much to look forward to over the last 26 games of the campaign.
MANDRON’S UP-AND-DOWN DAY
Mikael Mandron had a day to forget, although he once again produced a fully-committed performance up top, and ruffled a few feathers in the Magpies defence.
The ex-Wigan man did set up Odelusi for the 89th minute equaliser, with an inch-perfect pass, and had several attempts on goal during the afternoon.
However, it cannot be hidden that he conceded the penalty, with an unwise push on Yates in the box, and failed to convert his own penalty.
Hopefully, he will not let this affect him over the coming months, especially as he has improved in leaps and bounds since his summer arrival.