Colchester United remain deep in relegation mire after defeat to Coventry
- Credit: Archant
Coventry City 1 Colchester United 0
Colchester United suffered their first defeat in five games, to remain stuck in the relegation zone, losing at the hands of lowly rivals Coventry City this afternoon.
A first-half strike from skipper Jim O’Brien was sufficient for Tony Mowbray’s men to pull six points clear of the U’s. It was only their second win in their last 12 home league games.
After a below-par first period, the U’s improved after the break.
But they were unable to fashion an equaliser, and so stay second-from-bottom, with just five games left.
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O’Brien steered the Sky Blues ahead with the only goal of the game, on 36 minutes.
Set up by left-back Chris Stokes, the experienced midfield man slid his shot beyond the reach of Sam Walker and into the bottom corner of the far net.,
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It had been a very cagey opening, perhaps understandable considering the plight of the two clubs in the lower reaches of the table.
Coventry finally recorded the game’s first goal attempt, in the 11th minute, with skipper O’Brien’s effort easily smothered by Walker.
A minute later and Walker’s opposite number, Lee Burge, likewise had little problem in mopping up Gavin Massey’s snap shot in front of his near post.
Tom Eastman produced the best pass of the first 20 minutes, with a wonderful through ball to release Jacob Murphy down the right flank. Murphy cut inside his marker, but his final cross was pushed away by keeper Burge.
Eastman almost turned villain on 19 minutes. His team backward header fell short of Walker, but the U’s keeper stood up well to catch the resulting toe-poke from striker Nick Proschwitz.
City midfielder O’Brien did have a better sight of goal in the 24th minute, but his goal-bound shot was well blocked by Richard Brindley, who was making his third appearance for the U’s following his loan switch from Rotherham.
Walker was called into action on 36 minutes, doing well to beat away a ferocious drive from ex-Ipswich Town attacker Frank Nouble.
But just 30 seconds later and the U’s keeper could do little about O’Brien’s accurate low shot, which was arrowed into the far corner of the net to put the Sky Blues 1-0 up.
It was O’Brien’s sixth goal of the season.
O’Brien was causing a nuisance of himself again in the 43rd minute. The Scotsman benefited from a mix-up between Alex Gilbey and George Moncur to run away with the ball, although his final cross was headed wide at the near post by Proschwitz.
The U’s looked far brighter at the start of the second half and Moncur had an excellent chance to equalise in the 48th minute.
An unmarked Moncur fired in a 10-yard shot which was beaten away by Burge, otherwise the ex-West Ham midfielder would have been celebrating his fourth goal in four games
A minute later and Moncur turned provider for Massey, whose angled drive was diverted away from goal by Burge for a corner.
There was a lucky escape at the other end for the U’s in the 57th minute. Proschwitz sneaked behind the visitors’ defence and rounded keeper Walker, only for his shot to clip the outside of the near post and ricochet wide, with an empty goal becoming.
It was proving a far livelier second period, and Gilbey was only a whisker away from diverting home Moncur’s low cross on 64 minutes. He arrived just a split-second too late.
Five minutes later and Nouble spurned a great chance to double the lead, scooping a free shot over the bar from just 10 yards out.
In the 80th minute, Walker got a vital touch to substitute James Maddison’s shot, deflecting the ball onto the top of the post and wide.
With five minutes remaining, an acrobatic overhead kick by Sammie Szmodics clipped the top of the bar and dropped behind for a goal-kick.
COVENTRY: Burge, Willis, Pennington, Johnson, Stokes, Fleck, O’Brien (sub Odelusi, 78), Ward, Barton (sub Phillips, 73), Nouble, Proschwitz (sub Maddison, 68). Unused subs: Charles-Cook, Thomas, Jackson, Martin.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Brindley, Khumalo, Eastman, Wynter (sub Briggs, 68), Lapslie (sub Szmodics, 68), Gilbey, Moncur, Massey, Porter (sub Healey, 76), Murphy. Unused subs: Lewington, Bonne, Sembie-Ferris, Harney.
Referee: David Webb (Lancashire)
Attendance: 8,933 (504 away fans)