U’s boss McGreal angry over penalty decision in defeat at Stevenage

Colchester United boss John McGreal

Colchester United boss John McGreal - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Colchester United manager John McGreal saw his side blow a 1-0 lead at Stevenage this afternoon, although he was very unhappy with the second-half penalty decision which enabled the hosts to take a 2-1 lead in an eventual 3-1 home victory.

The U’s took an early lead, Ryan Jackson providing the cross from the right for Sammie Szmodics to slot home from close-in after just two minutes.

But Stevenage equalised before half-time, former U’s striker Kurtis Guthrie turning home from close range, and late goals by Ben Kennedy (78th minute penalty) and Emmanuel Sonupe (83) secured all three points for the Hertfordshire hosts.

It was Kennedy’s spot kick which most frustrated McGreal, with substitute Brennan Dickenson’s foul on Sam Seddon seeming to be committed outside the box.

“We made a substitution, because Courtney’s (Senior’s) legs were going, so we put Brennan on,” explained McGreal.

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“And then the penalty goes against us. I’ve seen it back, and it’s a massive yard outside the box, so it’s a poor decision from the referee (Nick Kinseley).

“It was a foul, but it was definitely outside the box.

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“Luke Norris’ shot in the second half and given us hope after what was a really poor start to the second half from us, and we sensed things were changing when we made the substitution.

“But we then gave a penalty away straight away. We tried to chase the game and then it’s 3-1 before you could blink,” added McGreal.

The U’s boss was happy with his side’s start, although he felt that they could have cashed in with more than just the one goal.

McGreal continued: “We started the game so well. The early goal gave us a good base to start, but we were really wasteful for the next 20 minutes, despite getting at their back four.

“But for the last hour we were really really poor.

“We gave them a few facts at half-time, because we sensed what was coming, having given away a poor goal from a set piece (Guthrie’s equaliser).

“But we then started poorly again in the second half,

“I felt overall we should have scored more goals in that first half-hour. We played some terrific stuff early on, but we then dropped a little bit for the last 15 minutes of the half.

“We’ve seen Kurtis Guthrie for 18 months (at Colchester United), and we know what he gives his team, and that was a little bit of the Kurtis-of-old today.

“We tried to address it at half-time, but we should be able to see a 1-0 lead out rather than need a second goal,” added McGreal.

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