Colchester 3 Chelmsford II 3
Premier BColchester 3 Chelmsford II 3Colchester's season ended in disappointing fashion as they let a two goal lead slip for the fourth time this season.
Colchester 3 Chelmsford II 3
Colchester's season ended in disappointing fashion as they let a two goal lead slip for the fourth time this season.
Colchester needed a win to have any chance of finishing fourth bottom and definitely avoid relegation however, they will now have to wait on the results of the National League play-offs in May to find out whether there will be an extra relegation from the division.
Colchester started the game well but, despite plenty of early possession, there was little end product to show for their endeavours.
The hosts' first chance fell to Tim Wright but, after Craig Warriner had slipped the ball through, he shot narrowly wide of the near post.
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Colchester continued to press and substitute Will Devitt went close soon after coming on but the Chelmsford keeper was out well to deny him.
Colchester eventually took the lead when Rohan Khaira showed some good skill down the right before pulling the ball back to Mark Kennedy. His shot was saved by the keeper but Devitt was on hand to put the ball in at the back post.
Colchester were playing with a confidence that belied their position in the league and Warriner went close before they doubled their advantage. Warriner showed some lovely skill to tip a Matt Low pass over the advancing keeper before sending the ball towards the goal. Warriner's effort hit the post, but Rob Mann was on hand to tap the ball into the empty net.
A lapse in the Colchester defence then let Chelmsford back into the game. The Chelmsford forward was allowed to run with the ball before unleashing a reverse stick shot past Grant Hibbert in the Colchester goal.
Colchester had further chances to restore a two goal advantage through Mann and Duncan Scott, Mann shooting just wide and Scott just failing to get a touch to a Matt Low cross.
The second half continued in the same vein, with Colchester working hard and having the lions share of possession. Colchester had more chances but always failed at the final hurdle.
Michael Pearce put in a great ball from a free hit but none of the Colchester attackers could get on the ball to deflect it home. Then, moments later, Mann's first time shot from a Pearce ball went high and wide.
Colchester's best chance early in the half came through Khaira who drove down the right before finding Tom Philp who supplied a reverse ball back into Khaira's path, however Khaira fired straight at the keeper when a little pass to Mann would have left him with another tap-in.
Colchester's chances continued to flow, going close with a number of penalty corners. Ed Long-Price had a drag flick saved, with Matt Foakes' follow up effort also saved by the Chelmsford keeper, while Mann deflected another penalty corner routine just past the post.
Midway through the half Chelmsford had got an equaliser against the run of play. A ball was played up to a forward just outside the 'D' and he was able to beat Foakes before slipping the ball past the advancing Hibbert.
Colchester continued to attack with Warriner running the ball along the base line but unable to pick out Devitt or Mann who were waiting for a shot at goal.
Once again a Long-Price penalty corner was saved with the rebound falling to Wayne Masters who fired his shot low with the Chelmsford keeper on the floor when a lifted shot would surely have given Colchester the lead once again.
Colchester did retake the lead with barely five minutes remaining when a penalty corner was slipped back to the injector where Khaira swept the ball in first time.
However, there was still time for Chelmsford to force an equaliser when a midfielder dribbled his way into the 'D' before trying to get a shot off. He completely mis-hit his reverse stick effort but the ball bobbled to a team mate who fired a first time shot high past Hibbert into the Colchester net.
Hills Residential Man of the Match was Ed Long-Price as he controlled the game from the Colchester midfield.