Colchester United grind out an ugly draw at basement dwellers
Newport County 1 Colchester United 1
Colchester United stretched their fine unbeaten run to nine games, although they had to make do with a battling point at basement dwellers Newport County this afternoon.
In a feisty encounter, played on a pudding of a pitch, the U’s made it 23 points from a possible 27 in their last nine fixtures, with seven wins and two draws.
It was never going to be easy, playing on a very poor playing surface at Rodney Parade – there had been a rugby match (Newport Gwent Dragons) played on it, the previous evening, which had scuffed up the surface still further.
In the end, Chris Porter’s 35th minute penalty secured a deserved point, after Josh Sheehan had broken the deadlock with a low drive.
The U’s have another away game next weekend, at Exeter City.
Newport took the lead in the 23rd minute, thanks to Sheehan’s clinical low shot from just inside the box.
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Centre-half Sid Nelson’s long throw caused problems in the U’s penalty area, and midfielder Sheehan made them pay with a well-struck drive which bobbled across the turf and past the despairing dive of Sam Walker.
However, a poor challenge by centre-half Darren Jones enabled the Essex visitors to equalise in the 35th minute.
Jones chopped down Kurtus Guthrie, in unceremonious fashion, and referee Michael Salisbury had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Club captain Porter sent keeper Joe Day the wrong way with a clinical penalty, into the bottom corner of the net, so chalking up his ninth goal of the campaign.
Otherwise, there were precious few clear-cut chances for either save, although Walker did make a top-class save in the 67th minute.
The U’s keeper back-pedalled to divert substitute Tom Owen-Evans’ 20-yarder over the bar with his fingertips. Owen-Evans had only been on the pitch for a matter of a few seconds.
On as a 78th minute substitute, U’s front-man Denny Johnstone almost immediately charged down a clearance and homed in on goal, only to check inside and then drag his shot well wide of the near post.
The draw at least ended Newport’s miserable recent run of eight straight league defeats.
NEWPORT: Day, Jones, O’Brien, Nelson, Pipe, Bennett, Randall (sub Owen-Evans, 66), Sheehan, Butler, Williams, Reid (sub Bojaj, 75). Unused subs: Bittner, Barnum-Bobb, Samuel, Flynn, Demetriou.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Eastman, Kent, Elokobi, Brindley, Lapslie, Garvan, Dickenson, Slater (sub Fosu, 87), Guthrie (sub Johnstone, 78) , Porter. Unused subs: Barnes, Wright, Vincent-Young, Wynter, Doyley.
Referee: Michael Salisbury (Lancs)
Attendance: 2,397 (312 away fans)