Another goal-less draw for U’s

Colchester United manager John Ward declared himself pleased with his side’s pre-season progress after they were held to a goal-less draw by non-league opposition for the second game running.

Braintree Town 0 Colchester United 0

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward declared himself pleased with his side’s pre-season progress after they were held to a goal-less draw by non-league opposition for the second game running.

The U’s are yet to concede a goal in five pre-season matches, however, their inability to score against newly-promoted Step Three side Lowestoft Town and Blue Square South outfit Braintree is a slight cause for concern.

“I’m really pleased,” said Ward. “I think we are getting nearer and nearer to league standard football games as we go along.

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“The public will want to know why we are not winning these games, but that’s because the opposition has been really up for it. The Braintree boys gave no quarter and we stood up to it well.”

There was certainly nothing friendly about this pre-season match, with various ill-tempered clashes throughout.

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Alan Maybury was fortunate that his stamp on Sam Lechmere went unseen by the officials, while soon after the break referee Adam Crysell told both managers that they must substitute Ian Henderson and Sam Holloway following an angry tangle. Henderson had only been on the field for nine minutes.

Braintree stalwart Bradley Quinton was in the referee’s ear all game, while Marc Tierney was guilty of a crude revenge tackle when he came on.

U’s boss Ward once again went with an attacking 4-3-3 formation, with Medy Elito making his first appearance of pre-season on the left of the forward three.

Goalkeeper Ben Williams returned to the team following a knee injury and was replaced at the interval by former Ipswich and Norwich man Andy Marshall, the non-contracted player getting the nod ahead of Mark Cousins.

The closest the League One side came to scoring in the first period was when Anthony Wordsworth’s free-kick went just past a post, before mass changes by both sides stopped the second half gaining any real momentum.

Home keeper Nathan McDonald made a good stop at the feet of Ashley Vincent – who played as a lone striker towards the end – while Kenny Davis blazed over for Braintree from a glorious position. Kemi Izzet then had to head off the line in the dying stages to deny the hosts a winner.

Meanwhile, there is bad news for Colchester’s latest signing Ben Coker who will be out for six to eight weeks after injuring his ankle badly in training. Joel Thomas remains out with a hamstring problem.

The U’s now head to Blue Square Premier side Cambridge United tomorrow night, while a Colchester United XI will play Chelmsford City on Wednesday.

Braintree: Nathan McDonald (Ollie Morris Saunders 80), Phil Starkey (Robbie Martin 65), Mark Jones (Sam Holloway 58), Matt Paine (cpt) (Michael Alaile 75), Adam Bailey-Dennis (Brad Thomas 65), Sam Lechmere (Martin Tuohy 71), Reece Harris (Ryan Doyle 65), Kenny Davis (James Hawes 75), Nicky Symons (Louis Riddle 75), Bradley Quinton (Tom Bruno 71), Sean Marks (Mike Power 75).

Colchester: Ben Williams (Andy Marshall 46), John White (Brian Wilson 68), Alan Maybury (Marc Tierney 68), Magnus Okuonghae (Paul Reid 68), Matt Heath, Lee Beevers (Andy Bond 63), Lloyd James (Kemi Izzet 63), Anthony Wordsworth (David Perkins 63), Steven Gillespie (Ian Henderson 49, Ashley Vincent 58), Medy Elito (Simon Hackney 46), Clive Platt (Sam Corcoran 84).

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