Accrington Stanley 3 Colchester United 1, match report: Opening day woe for dismal U’s

Sammie Szmodics, who scored a late consolation goal in a U's 3-1 defeat at Accrington this afternoon

Sammie Szmodics, who scored a late consolation goal in a U's 3-1 defeat at Accrington this afternoon. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Accrington Stanley 3 Colchester United 1

Colchester United suffered their first opening day defeat for nine years, and they can have no complaints after a dismal showing at Accrington Stanley this afternoon.

The U’s were blown away in a very poor first-half display, an over-stretched defence conceding goals to striker Kayden Jackson (9) and fellow front-man Billy Kee (32).

The visitors improved after the break, but any hopes of a comeback were ended by left-back Omar Beckles steering home the third on 65 minutes.

Sammie Szmodics, the U’s man-of-the-match despite only playing the second 45 minutes, did prod home a consolation from close-range in the 81st minute.

For the opener, the U’s defence was cut to ribbons by Liam Nolan’s excellent through ball, which enabled Kayden Jackson to run beyond the back-line and slot past the onrushing Sam Walker.

It was a calm finish by Jackson, a 23-year-old front-runner recruited from Barnsley last month. He had spent most of last season on loan at Grimsby, scoring just twice in 24 in outings, although he had taken him just nine minutes to score on his Stanley debut!

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The U’s continued to be second best, although Craig Slater did blow a good chance when scuffing a shot wide of target in the 16th minute.

And it was no real surprise when Stanley doubled their lead on 32 minutes, Kee lashing home past an exposed Walker after a goalmouth scramble.

There was another blow for the visitors in the 38th minute. Lynchpin defender Tom Eastman, their most experienced player, hobbled off with an ankle injury, to be replaced by debutant Cole Kpekawa.

The U’s did have a chance in the 44th minute. Slater’s free-kick dropped at the feet of Denny Johnstone, but his snap shot was parried by keeper Chapman at his near post.

After such a dismal first-half showing, U’s boss McGreal reacted by making a double substitution for the start of the second period, with Szmodics and Lewis Kinsella on for Slater and Johnstone.

And Szmodics nearly halved the deficit inside the first two minutes of the second half, sliding a shot narrowly wide from Wright’s lay-off.

But Accrington added a third in the 65th minute. Sean McConville’s corner was headed down by centre-half Ben Richards-Everton, enabling Beckles to tuck home from seven yards out.

Szmodics bagged the U’s first goal of the 2017-18 season, by steering home from Mikael Mandron’s deflected shot late on.


ACCRINGTON STANLEY: Chapman, Donacien (sub Forbes, 74), Richards-Everton, Conneely, Hughes, Beckles, Nolan, Clark, McConville, Jackson (sub Edwrads, , Kee. Unused subs: Jorgensen, Brown, McLeod, Sousoa, Dallison.

COLCHESTER: Walker, Eastman (sub Kpekawa, 38), Kent, James, Jackson, Lapslie, Murray, Wright, Slater (sub Szmodics, 46), Johnstone (sub Kinsella, 46), Mandron. Unused subs: Gilmartin, Vincent-Young, O’Sullivan, Issa.

Referee: Ross Joyce (Cleveland)

Attendance: 1,625 (329 away fans)

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