U’s bow out of Checkatrade Trophy at Cambridge

Harry Pell, who scored late on in the U's 3-1 defeat at Cambridge in the Checkatrade Trophy. Picture

Harry Pell, who scored late on in the U's 3-1 defeat at Cambridge in the Checkatrade Trophy. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Cambridge United 3 Colchester United 1

Colchester United bowed out of their second cup competition in just three days, after losing at Cambridge in tonight’s EFL Checkatrade Trophy Group B match at the Abbey Stadium.

The U’s had been knocked out of the FA Cup at the first round stage on Saturday, edged out 1-0 at League One high-flyers Accrington Stanley.

And they were put on the back foot by a brace from Ade Azeez, who netted on 32 and 81 minutes to give Joe Dunne’s men a 2-0 lead.

Harry Pell did halve the deficit late on, only for their hosts to restore their two-goal advantage almost immediately with Emmanuel Osadebe netting a third in injury-time.

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It was a winner-takes-all clash, after both sides had won one and drawn one of their first two group matches, as had the other two teams, Southend United and Southampton Under-21s. The U’s had beaten the Shrimpers 2-0, after losing their opener by the same scoreline to the young Saints.

But hopes of Colchester reaching the knock-out stages of the competition took a dent when Azeez made the most of space inside the box to slide home a shot past Dillon Barnes to break the deadlock.

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However, Barnes kept his side in the game by saving a penalty from Azeez, after Frankie Kent had fouled in the box on 44 minutes.

Home keeper Mitov saved well from Aaron Collins, early in the second half, and then denied Sammie Szmodics with a smart save on 62 minutes.

The visitors searched in vain for an equaliser, and Brennan Dickenson’s deflected cross was again dealt with by Mitov in the 67th minute.

Azeez’s second gave Cambridge a cushion, as he found the net from an acute angle, and although Pell netted at the start of injury-time by connecting sweetly from Ryan Jackson’s throw-in, any hopes of a dramatic finish to force a penalty shoot-out were dashed by Osadebe’s late third.

The tie was played in front of a crowd of just 598.

It was a special night for 18-year-old Ollie Kensdale, who was handed his senior debut, in defence, while boss John McGreal made six changes in all from Saturday’s defeat at Crown Meadow.

CAMBRIDGE UNITED: Mitov, Carroll, O’Neil (sub Maris, 46), Darling, Davies (sub Halliday, 71), Lewis, John, Azeez, Dunk (sub Amoo, 46), Osadebe, Brown. Unused subs: Iron, Taft, Amoo, Lambe.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Barnes, Prosser, Kent, Kensdale (sub Jackson, 59), Vincent-Young (sub Gondoh, 71), Wright, Pell, Dickenson, Szmodics (sub Senior, 64), Collins, Mandron. Unused subs: Ross, James, Chilvers, Nouble.

Attendance: 598 (114 away fans)

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