Colchester United 1 Wycombe Wanderers 2, match report: U’s suffer first home league defeat of the season
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Colchester United 1 Wycombe Wanderers 2
Colchester United suffered their first home league defeat of the season, and only their third home league loss of 2017, at the hands of Wycombe Wanderers this afternoon.
Craig Mackail-Smith netted the winner on 67 minutes, after Brandon Hanlan had marked his full debut with a 43rd minute equaliser, following Nathan Tyson’s 31st minute opener.
For the opener, Sam Walker did well to dive to his right and block Mackail-Smith’s goal-bound shot, but the U’s keeper was still grounded when Tyson nipped in to head the rebound into an unguarded net.
The U’s were level in the 43rd minute. Drey Wright capped a strong run with an accurate pass into the path of Hanlan, whose rising shot flew into the net off the underside of bar, giving keeper Scott Brown no chance.
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It was Hanlan’s second goal in just three appearances for the U’s, since his loan switch from Charlton.
He had bagged the first on his debut as a substitute in the previous home game, a 1-1 draw against Chesterfield.
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But Wycombe were back in front on 67 minutes. Defender Dan Scarr’s towering header, from Joe Jacobson’s cross, thudded back off the woodwork, but Mackail-Smith reacted first to stab home the rebound.
The U’s could not fashion a second equaliser during the final quarter of the game.
Wycombe dominated the opening few minutes, with their attack-minded 4-3-3 formation, but it was the U’s who created the first few chances.
Leading scorer Sammie Szmodics, who scored at Wycombe in last season’s away win, skipped past the challenge of ex-U’s midfielder Marcus Bean before drilling in a low shot which was blocked by keeper Brown with his legs, on 10 minutes.
Just two minutes later and Doug Loft, back in the team after injury, tried his luck with a crisp 20-yarder which soared only a foot over the bar.
Midway through the first period, the influential Loft curled over a corner to the far post, when Ryan Inniss nodded wide of target.
At the other end, some pinball in the home box ended with Mackail-Smith’s snap shot being charged down, for keeper Walker to mop up danger.
Mackail-Smith squandered a gilt-edged chance to break the deadlock on 27 minutes. He pounced onto Ade Akinfenwa’s chest-down but miscued his shot wide of the target with just Walker to beat.
However, Mackail-Smith played a key role in Wycombe’s opener, just after the half-hour mark. His ferocious shot was blocked by Walker, with Tyson on hand to head into an empty net.
Szmodics so nearly equalised just two minutes after that opener, his long-range shot heading for the roof of the net until Brown stuck out a hand to divert the ball over his bar.
But the U’s were level before the break, thanks to Hanlan’s smart finish, his shot going in via the underside of the bar following Wright’s strong run.
Wycombe should have regained the lead just two minutes into the second half, but Eberechi Eze’s shot-on-the-turn was blocked by Kane Vincent-Young on the edge of the six-yard box.
Hanlan was felled on the edge of the penalty area, as he raced through on goal, with Bean booked for his troubles, and the U’s were also denied by a goal-line clearance, with Inniss’ header from Frankie Kent’s high cross being hacked to safety by Jacobson.
But it was Wycombe who got through their noses in front, thanks to Mackail-Smith’s alertness to head home a loose ball on 67 minutes.
The U’s searched for a swift equaliser. Ryan Jackson teed up Hanlan, whose low drive was smothered by keeper Brown on 69 minutes, and the Chairboys keeper also did well to block a stinging 20-yarder by Wright.
At the other end, Walker performed heroics to prevent Akinfenwa’s close-range effort from sneaking home in the 75th minute.
The chances continued to flow and substitute Kyel Reid smashed an angled drive wide of the far upright with 10 minutes remaining.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Eastman (sub Reid, 78), Inniss, Kent, Jackson, Lapslie (sub Murray, 82), Loft (sub Kabamba, 80), Vincent-Young, Szmodics, Wright, Hanlan. Unused subs: Gilmartin, Comley, Odelusi, James.
WYCOMBE: Brown, Harriman, Stewart, Scarr, Jacobson, O’Nien, Bean, Eze (sub Saunders, 73), Mackail-Smith (sub Freeman, 83), Akinfena, Tyson. Unused subs: Richardson, Jombati, El-Abd, Southwell, Williams.
Referee: Brett Huxtable (Devon)
Attendance: 3,562 (537 away fans)