Colchester United go down 2-0 away at Doncaster Rovers
Colchester United suffered their third away defeat on the bounce, conceding a goal in each half at lowly Doncaster Rovers this afternoon.
Midfielder Conor Grant netted with a cracking shot to put Rovers 1-0 up, just four minutes before half-time, and striker Andy Williams doubled the home side’s lead in the 65th minute with a breakaway goal.
This loss on the road followed on from the previous away defeats at Shrewsbury (4-2) and Wigan (5-0), although the U’s had taken four points from their last two home games.
Grant slammed Rovers ahead on 41 minutes with a clinical strike.
The U’s failed to full clearly a cross from the left, delivered by Cedric Evina, and James Coppinger teed up Grant, who let fly with a rising shot from 20 yards out.
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Jamie Jones was left clutching at thin air as the ball soared into the top far corner of the net.
Rovers doubled their lead in the 65th minute, via a swift breakaway goal.
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The U’s defence was left exposed, ironically from their own corner, and Coppinger scurried down the right flank before unselfishly squaring for an unmarked Williams to steer home from 10 yards out.
There was no way back for the visitors.
The U’s had made one change to the side that were involved in a thrilling 4-4 home draw against Walsall last weekend.
Matt Briggs returned after illness, to fill his natural left-back role, with Frankie Kent dropping to the bench.
After a quiet opening, from both sides, Doncaster threatened first on eight minutes. Nathan Tyson burst through on a one-on-one situation with Jones, but the U’s keeper stood up well to parry the striker’s final shot.
At the other end, Alex Gilbey earned a free-kick, 25 yards from goal, although Owen Garvan’s effort from the set piece ballooned off the defensive wall and rolled well wide.
The visitors went closer in the 11th minute as George Moncur turned to let fly with a rasping drive that Thorsten Stuckmann was at full stretch to push to safety.
Only the woodwork denied the U’s a goal on the quarter-hour mark. Moncur found himself in space, just 10 yards from goal, and his low shot beat Stuckmann, only to rebound back off the inside of the near post.
The U’s continued to look the brighter side, going forward, and Stuckmann was again called into action on 23 minutes, punching away Callum Harriott’s angled shot.
By contrast, Jones had little to do up until the 40-minute mark, with the exception of smothering a cross-cum-shot by winger Cameron Stewart down at his near post.
But the U’s keeper had little chance with Grant’s wonderful 20-yard shot, which soared into the top corner of the net to put Rovers 1-0 up in the 41st minute.
Rovers searched for a killer second goal early in the second half, and Jones had to be alert to gobble up Tyson’s slick shot on the turn in the 47th minute.
Home defender Andy Butler almost turned Harriott’s cross-cum-shot into his own net, in the 64th minute, the ball looping over the bar for a corner instead.
But the U’s conceded their second goal of the afternoon, just 30 seconds later, as they were caught napping from their own corner.
The visitors were hopelessly over-stretched as an unmarked Williams gleefully tucked home Coppinger’s low cross.
Stuckmann then came to his side’s rescue with a marvellous one-handed save in the 69th minute. Ambrose headed goalwards from Harriott’s teasing cross, only for the Rovers keeper to intervene with an instinctive save on his goal-line.
Into the last 10 minutes and substitute Curtis Main dragged a shot across goal and wide, from close in. That should really have been Rovers’ third goal of the afternoon.
Matt Briggs had a couple of long-range shots blocked, in the second minute of injury-time, but the U’s drew a blank in South Yorkshire.
DONCASTER: Stuckmann, Lund, Taylor-Sinclair, Butler, Evina (sub Keegan, 79), Coppinger, Middleton, Grant, Stewart (sub McCullough, 68), Williams (sub Main, 74), Tyson.
Unused subs: Wellens, Forrester, Mandeville, Marosi.
COLCHESTER: Jones, Olufemi, Eastman, Elokobi (sub Kent, 65), Briggs, Garvan, Gilbey, Moncur, Ambrose (sub Bonne, 70, Sordell, Harriott.
Unused subs: Parish, Edwards, Lapslie, Sembie-Ferris, Curtis.
Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancs)
Attendance: 5,324 (194 away fans)