Colchester United held to a home draw by already-promoted Doncaster
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Colchester United 1 Doncaster Rovers 1
Play-off chasing Colchester United were held to a home draw by already-promoted Doncaster Rovers at the Weston Homes Community Stadium this afternoon.
Brennan Dickenson blasted home a wonderful opening goal in the 16th minute, to follow up his terrific strike from the previous weekend’s 4-0 home win over Stevenage.
But centre-half Mathieu Baudry headed home a corner, in first-half injury-time, to earn the league leaders a point in their quest for the title.
The U’s goal was well-worked.
Drey Wright’s cross from the right was flicked on by Richard Brindley, and the ball dropped into the path of Dickenson.
The U’s on-fire left wing-back let fly with a first-time shot that soared into the top corner of the net, giving keeper Marko Marosi no chance.
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It was a fantastic finish by Dickenson, a real rocket, clocking up his 12th goal of the season in some style.
But the U’s could not add to their tally, and they were pegged back by Baudry’s equaliser in the second and last minute of injury-time at the end of the first half.
Gary McSheffrey floated over a corner which centre-half Baudry headed powerfully into the roof of the net, from eight yards out.
It was a very open second period, with chances at both ends, but the U’s had to be content with a point, and so will now need to step up their top-seven quest by winning at Morecambe on Easter Monday.
After a nondescript first 15 minutes, during which there was virtually no goalmouth action at either end, Dickenson broke the deadlock with a spectacular finish on 16 minutes.
And it was very nearly 2-0, just two minutes later. Chris Porter’s thunderous drive, from just outside the penalty area, beat keeper Marosi, only to thud back off the far post and roll to safety.
The U’s were well on top, and danger-man Dickenson sliced through Rovers’ defence on a surging run into the box on 19 minutes. His final shot was gobbled up at the second attempt by Marosi, with defenders trailing in Dickenson’s wake.
Just after the half-hour mark, Wright was pushed over by Niall Mason, just outside the box. Mason was booked, but the ensuing free-kick by Dickenson ballooned several feet over the bar.
Doncaster did not really threaten until the 32nd minute.
Leading scorer John Marquis got the better of Cameron James and rifled in a shot that beat Sam Walker and looked destined for the back of the net. However, Tom Eastman stuck out a leg to make a superb goal-line clearance.
Otherwise, the home side continued to dominate. Sean Murray delivered a deep cross to the far post, where Brindley tried his luck with a volley that flew narrowly off target.
There was a let-off for the U’s on 43 minutes. A slip by Eastman allowed Tommy Rowe to burst clear down the left wing, but his low cross was just too strong for an onrushing Matty Blair to divert home from inside the six-yard box.
However, the U’s did concede an equaliser on the stroke of half-time through Baudry’s powerful header from McSheffry’s corner.
And Doncaster came close to taking the lead just three minutes into the second half. James was booked for felling Rowe, and McSheffrey’s 20-yard free-kick clipped the outside of the far post, although Walker seemed to have it covered.
The U’s were on the attack in the 56th minute, front-runner Wright making room for himself before lashing a 20-yarder just a foot wide of target.
A minute later and the action switched to the other end with Walker pulling off a superb save, to his left, to keep out Blair’s snap shot.
It had developed into a very open game. Rowe showed some great trickery in the U’s penalty area to slip past both Tarique Fosu and Eastman, but his final shot from close-in struck George Elokobi and rebounded away from danger.
Walker made his second important save of the second period in the 70th minute. He kept his composure to deny substitute Alfie May on a one-on-one situation.
The U’s threatened on the counter-attack in the 77th minute. Substitute Rekeil Pyke, only just on as a substitute, ran through on goal but delayed his shot too long and eventually set up Murray, whose shot took a deflection on its way past the far upright.
Four minutes later and the U’s had a good shout for a penalty turned down by referee David Webb, after substitute Pyke appeared to be shoved to the ground by defender Craig Alcock as a cross came into the Rovers’ box.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Eastman, James, Elokobi (sub Briggs, 86), Brindley, Lapslie (sub Loft, 88), Murray, Dickenson, Fosu, Wright (sub Pyke, 76), Porter. Unused subs: Brill, Briggs, Loft, Wynter, O’Sullivan, Kinsella.
DONCASTER: Marosi, Alcock, Baudry (sub Taylor-Sinclair, 46), Butler, Mason, McCullough, Rowe, Blair, Grant, Marquis, McSheffrey (sub May, 62). Unused subs: Jones, Weright, Middleton, Beestin, Longbottom.
Referee: D Webb (Lancs)
Attendance: 4,720 (716 away)