Cheltenham Town 3 Colchester United 1, match report: 10-man U’s endure yet more woe on the road
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Cheltenham Town 3 Colchester United 1
Colchester United’s dreadful away form continued, as they slipped to defeat at lowly Cheltenham Town, as well as ending the match with just 10 men.
The U’s were 2-0 down inside 15 minutes of an end-to-end tussle at Whaddon Road.
Kevin Dawson headed home Jordan Cranston’s cross in the 10th minute. He enjoyed acres of space just outside the six-yard box, and directed his header powerfully past an exposed Sam Walker.
Dawson then curled home a 25-yard shot to make in 2-0 just five minutes later, although the ball did appear to take a deflection off team-mate Mohammed Eisa, who celebrated and therefore will probably claim the goal as his own.
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The U’s halved the deficit in the 26th minute. Robins centre-half Taylor Moore handled in the box, from Tom Eastman’s cross, and Szmodics dispatched the penalty by sending home keeper Scott Flinders the wrong way.
Sam Walker saved Brian Graham’s 56th minute penalty, after Mikael Mandron had been sent for deliberate handball in the box.
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But the 10-man U’s soon leaked a third goal, Jordan Grimes stabbing home Eisa’s cross to wrap up the points in the 58th minute.
The U’s have therefore lost all four of their away matches this season, and have still only won one on the road throughout 2017.
A slip by Robins left-back Jordan Cranston allowed Nicke Kabamba a clear route to goal inside the first 60 seconds. However, the Portsmouth loanee hesitated before pulling his shot wide of goal with keeper Scott Flinders out of position.
Mandron was close to getting on the end of a long throw by Ryan Jackson, inside the six-yard box, on nine minutes, but it was Cheltenham who took the lead just 60 seconds later.
Walker had no chance as Dawson headed home Cranston’s accurate cross, and it was so nearly 2-0 to the hosts just a minute later as another free header, this time from Joe Morrell, looped wide of the far post from Eisa’s cross.
However, the Robins did grab their second goal shortly afterwards, thanks to Dawson’s swerving shot from long-range on the quarter-hour mark, which took a deflection off Eisa on in its way into the net.
The U’s were visibly rattled, but they could have shipped more goals during the first quarter of the game.
Eisa had an angled drive deflected wide of target at the far post, and Brian Graham headed wide from a 22nd minute free-kick, with the defensive marking again very poor.
But the U’s halved the deficit in the 26th minute, via Szmodics’ super-cool penalty. It was his fifth goal of the season.
It was an entertaining first half, and livewire Eisa was just a whisker away with a fierce low drive which struck the boot of Ryan Inniss and rolled wide of the far upright on 35 minutes.
The U’s had changed formations from 3-4-1-2 to 4-4-2 midway through the first half, to good effect, and McGreal made a further change at the start of the second period with Drey Wright on as a substitute for Cameron James. The 4-4-2 system remained.
However, the visitors were soon up against it, especially when Mandron was sent off for deliberate handball in the 56th minute, conceding a penalty in the process.
Walker dived to his right to smother the ensuing penalty, taken by Graham, but the U’s keeper was powerless to prevent the hosts from restoring their two-goal advantage in the 58th minute.
Eisa’s cross from the left flank was swept home by centre-half Grimes, from very close in.
The visitors tried to get back into the game. Wright had appeals for a penalty turned down, when he took a tumble under pressure from Cranston, and Szmodics volleyed narrowly over in the 66th minute.
Vincent-Young scooped a shot over the bar from just eight yards out, in the 85th minute.
CHELTENHAM TOWN: Flinders, Winchester, Grimes, Moore, Cranston, Morrell, Storer (sub Boyle, 60), Pell, Dawson (sub Gordon, 60), Graham (sub Wright, 78), Eisa. Unused subs: Flatt, O’Shaughnessy, Bower.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Walker, Eastman, Inniss, James (sub Wright, 46), Jackson, Lapslie, Comley (sub Murray, 63), Vincent-Young, Szmodics, Mandron, Kabamba (sub Hanlan, 60). Unused subs: Gilmartin, Kinsella, Kpekawa, Odelusi.
Referee: Tom Nield (West Yorks)
Attendance: 2,718 (200 away fans)