Kent scores U’s first headed goal of the season to snatch a point against Cumbrians
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Colchester United 1 Carlisle United 1
Frankie Kent rescued a point for Colchester United, against play-off rivals Carlisle United at the JobServe Community Stadium this afternoon.
Hallam Hope’s 10th league goal of the season, in the 57th minute, looked as though it would secure a league double for the Cumbrians, following on from their 4-0 win over the U’s at Brunton Park before Christmas.
But Kent had other ideas, thanks to his 84th minute equaliser, which incredibly was the U’s first headed goal of the whole season!
In truth, the U’s delivered a below-par performance, and rarely threatened to score themselves with visiting keeper Adam Collin enjoying a very quiet afternoon.
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The opening goal of the game arrived just before the hour mark.
Rene Gilmartin did well to keep out the initial effort, after Mark Cullen had nudged a cross by Callum O’Hare goalwards, but Hope was in the right place to squeeze home the loose ball, despite the best efforts of Ryan Jackson on the goal-line.
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But with time running out, John McGreal’s bagged an equaliser.
The substitutes combined with Mikael Mandron helping on Brennan Dickenson’s delivery, and Kent was in the right place to stoop and head into an empty net from eight yards out.
The U’s showed one change to the side that drew 1-1 at Macclesfield Town last weekend, Diaz Wright coming in for the injured Tom Lapslie in central midfield. Fellow midfielders Harry Pell (hamstring) and Brandon Comley (knee) were also out injured.
Carlisle settled the better, and they had two chances in quick succession on the five-minute mark.
Gilmartin did well to parry a header by Regan Slater, at point blank range, and the follow-up shot by O’Hare was screwed wide of the far post.
The U’s did not threaten until the 12th minute, when keeper Adam Collin dived to his left to comfortably save from Abo Eisa’s rather tamely struck shot.
Gilmartin had more to do at the other end, clawing away a fierce 20-yarder from Hallam Hope just 60 seconds later.
The U’s struggled to make much headway as an attacking force, during the first quarter of the game, although leading scorer Sammie Szmodics was about to pull the trigger when he was robbed by veteran defender Gary Liddle inside the box on 21 minutes.
Six minutes later and the home side had appeals for a penalty turned down by referee Trevor Kettle, after Courtney Senior appeared to be pushed inside the box, while out of possession.
Frankie Kent very nearly scored an unfortunate own goal in the 35th minute. The centre-half got his boot to Cullen’s angled drive, on the edge of the six-yard box, the ball flying only just wide of goal.
At the other end, Eisa ballooned a free-kick several yards over the bar, on 43 minutes, which rather summed up the U’s as an attacking threat during the first period.
The U’s started the second half in brighter fashion, and Frank Nouble delivered a teasing cross-cum-shot across the face of goal, with Eisa just a whisker away from turning the ball into the net.
But it was Carlisle who broke the deadlock, in the 57th minute, thanks to Hope’s 11th goal of the season, and 10th in the league, from close range.
Hope lifted a couple of other chances over the bar, as the Cumbrians went in search of a killer second goal.
Substitute Dickenson launched a long throw into the Carlisle box, in the 79th minute. Szmodics helped the ball on and Luke Prosser’s close-range shot on the turn was well smothered by keeper Collin – that was a rare goal attempt by the U’s.
But the hosts did grab an equaliser, in the 84th minute, thanks to Kent’s close-range headed finish to secure a valuable point.
COLCHESTER: Gilmartin, Jackson (sub Norris, 75), Prosser, Kent, Vincent-Young, Wright (sub Dickenson, 69), Stevenson, Senior, Szmodics, Eisa (sub Mandron, 69), Nouble. Unused subs: Barnes, Roberts, Eastman, Dunne.
CARLISLE: Collin, Liddle, Gerrard, Parkes, Grainger, Cullen (sub Thomas, 69), Slater, O’Hare (sub Jones, 79), Etuhu, Scougall (sub McCarron, 86), Hope. Unused subs: Miller, Kennedy, Grant, Gray.
Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland)
Attendance: 3,626 (319 away fans)