Colchester United 2 Newport County 0: Ben Stevenson marks U’s debut with a goal
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Colchester United 2 Newport County 0
Ben Stevenson marked his Colchester United debut with the opening goal as the U’s celebrated their first victory in six matches, at the expense of visiting Newport County this afternoon.
Midfielder Stevenson, signed on loan from Wolves on transfer deadline day, swept the U’s in front on 59 minutes, just 10 minutes after coming on as a substitute for the injured Sean Murray.
And Tom Eastman made the game safe by sliding home the second at the far post on 79 minutes.
An inspired Courtney Senior, who had an inspired game, was the creator of Stevenson’s goal with a terrific run down the right flank.
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In fact, the 19-year-old covered more than then half the length of the pitch before crossing low to the near post, where the onrushing Stevenson calmly diverted the ball home.
With 11 minutes remaining, Mikael Mandron headed firmly goalwards from Brandon Comley’s corner, and centre-half Eastman was on hand to squeeze the ball home from close-in.
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The U’s had started brightly and Murray was no far adrift with a thunderous 25-yarder which flew narrowly over the top on seven minutes.
Senior, operating just behind the front two of Kurtis Guthrie and Mandron, had a shot-on-the-turn deflected wide on 12 minutes, and tricky customer Senior peppered the target with another snap shot from the ensuing corner.
The U’s were certainly the better team during the opening half-hour. Ryan Jackson cracked a long-range shot over the bar, and Senior then lost his footing when preparing to shoot from Guthrie’s lay-off on 27 minutes.
Newport rarely threatened at all in the first period, despite having a strong, physical presence all over the pitch.
However, they did have some joy in the 43rd minute mark when Frank Nouble managed to sneak behind the U’s back-line. Joss Labadie’s goal-bound shot was blocked by Luke Prosser, and centre-haldf Prosser also charged down the follow-up shot.
At the other end, Jackson’s angled rocket was deflected wide of the far post for a corner.
The game began to open up in the second period, with the U’s beginning to enjoy some more space.
Kane Vincent-Young had a shot saved by keeper Joe Day, down at his near post, but Day was powerless to prevent Stevenson from steering the U’s into a 59th minute lead, just 10 minutes after coming on as a substitute for the injured Murray.
Stevenson swept home Senior’s low cross, after the latter had run half the length of the pitch on a stirring break.
It was an inspired to start his Colchester career from Stevenson, and he had another shot blocked on the edge of the box as the home side searched for a killer second goal.
Mandron wasted a great chance to double the U’s lead in the 71st minute. The Frenchman scooped his shot over the bar, with keeper Day out of position, following another eye-catching run by Senior.
At the other end, midfielder Ben Tozer glanced a header narrowly wide from Labadie’s delivery in the 76th minute.
Guthrie could have finished the game off, when put through by Mandron in the 78th minute. But he hesitated and was dispossessed before he could shoot for goal.
However, the U’s did wrap up the points just a minute later, with Eastman sliding home the U’s second goal at the far post, from close in.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Eastman, Prosser, Kent, Jackson, Comley, Murray (sub Stevenson, 49), Vincent-Young, Senior (sub Szmodics, 74), Guthrie (sub Ogedi-Uzokwe, 87), Mandron. Unused subs: Gilmartin, Lapslie, Wright, Mandeville.
NEWPORT: Day, Tozer, Reid, Demetriou, Butler, Reid (sub Osadebe, 74), Labadie, Dolan (sub McCoulsky, 62), Willmott, Nouble, Amond (sub Hayes, 58). Unused subs: Bittner, Pipe, Bennett, Sheehan.
Referee: Grant Ward (Surrey)
Attendance: 2,874 (184 away fans)