Colchester United beaten by Donaldson’s lucky winner, following an injury to the referee

Craig Slater, netted his first goal for the U's with a terrific free-kick at Plymouth this afternoon

Craig Slater, netted his first goal for the U's with a terrific free-kick at Plymouth this afternoon - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Plymouth Arygle 2 Colchester United 1

Colchester United suffered late heart-ache in an incident-packed League Two clash at Home Park in Devon this afternoon.

The U’s were on course for a deserved 1-1 draw, thanks to Craig Slater’s first goal for the Essex club, with a 32nd minute free-kick to level after Craig Tanner’s 16th minute opener.

But play was held up for 11 minutes while referee Kevin Johnson was being treated on the pitch, having been knocked out following an accidental collision with Plymouth striker Jimmy Spencer.

Mr Johnson was eventually stretchered off, and Plymouth then grabbed a fortuitous winner within 60 seconds of the restart.

Luke Prosser sold his keeper Sam Walker short, with a poor back pass, and Walker’s attempted clearance ricocheted off substitute Ryan Donaldson and looped into an unguarded net.

It was a stroke of luck for the Pilgrims – the goal arrived in the 87th minute, although there was still effectively 17 minutes of additional time to play.

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Earlier in the game, the U’s were effectively down to 10 men at the time of Tanner’s opening goal, with Drey Wright nursing a knee injury while lying on the turf.

Plymouth made the most of their numerical advantage.

Graham Carey slipped a pinpoint pass through for an unmarked Tanner, who sent a measured shot, with his left foot, arrowing into the net from 15 yards out.

The U’s should really have equalised, on the half-hour mark.

A fit-again Wright managed to sneak past his marker and power into the penalty area, and his low cross was deflected into the path of Porter, who was standing just eight yards out.

Alas, Porter could not apply the finish touch, the ball flying off his boot and wide of target.

But front-man Porter was involved in the U’s equaliser, by drawing the foul just outside the box for Slater to curl home a delightful free-kick, into the bottom corner of the net from 22 yards out.

It was Slater’s first goal since his summer move from Kilmarnock.

However, the U’s were denied a point by Donaldson’s lucky winner. They have now failed to win in eight league matches, with four draws and four defeats.


PLYMOUTH: McCormack, Miller, Bulvitis, Bradley, Purrington, Carey, Slew (sub Jervis, 61), Fox, Songo’o, Tanner (sub Donaldson, 74), Spencer (sub Smith, 90+6). Unused subs: Dorel, Goodwillie, Osborne, Ijaha.

COLCHESTER: Walker, Brindley, Prosser, Doyley, Wynter, Vincent-Young (sub Fosu, 90+1), Slater (sub Szmodics, 90+1), Wright, Guthrie, Porter, Johnstone (sub Bonne, 90+1). Unused subs: Bransgrove, Eastman, O’Donoghue, Kamara.

Referee: Kevin Johnson (Somerset) (replaced by assistantSimon Knapp, 87mins)

Attendance: 8,650 (214 away fans)

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