Colchester United scramble a last-ditch equaliser at 10-man Chesterfield
Chesterfield 3 Colchester United 3
Colchester United fluffed their lines, in front of goal, against 10-man Chesterfield, but still managed to secure a point thanks to an injury-time own goal.
The Spireites looked to be clinging on to record a battling 3-2 win, against the odds, at the Proact Stadium this afternoon, until Raglan’s own goal spoilt the home part.
Chesterfield had to play 75 minutes with just 10 men, but they were aided by some woeful finishing from the U’s, combined with some woeful defending at the other end.
Chesterfield right-back Drew Talbot was sent off in the 15th minute, for bringing down Marvin Sordell when the U’s debutant was clean through on goal.
But the home side got their noses in front on 23 minutes, as left-back Dan Jones’ free-kick somehow managed to find the far corner of the net, with no one else getting a touch. U’s debutant keeper Jamies Jones will be disappointed with allowing that one to flash past him.
The U’s were level just six minutes later, Gavin Massey tucking home Callum Harriott’s low cross into the far corner of the net.
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Chances then went begging for the visitors. Harriott and Alex Gilbey both struck a post, and Sordell missed a sitter, before Lee Novak regained the lead against the run of play in the 62nd minute.
Novak squeezed home, from Dan Gardner’s delivery across the face of goal.
And worse was to come, as more woeful defending from the U’s allowed the Derbyshire hosts to go 3-1 up in the 74th minute, skipper Samy Morsy volleying home.
Two minutes later and it was back to 3-2, George Moncur planting a shot into the roof of the net from Harriott’s delivery.
And when Moncur’s shot hit the bar, in stoppage time, the home side could not clear their lines and the ball spun into the net off defender Raglan.
It was a breathless end to a breathless game.
Us boss Humes handed debuts to his new signings, keeper Jamie Jones (on a three-month loan from Preston) and striker Sordell (free agent from Burnley).
The U’s registered the game’s first goal attempt, when Matt Briggs’ long-range thunderbolt was smothered by keeper Tommy Lee down to his left.
At the other end, U’s debutant keeper Jones was called into his first save on six minutes, as he comfortably caught an angled drive from winger Gboly Ariyibi.
The visitors were desperately close to taking the lead in the 14th minute. Gilbey burst through on goal, running onto Harriott’s excellent pass and firing in a low shot which keeper Lee performed heroics to divert the ball around his post.
However, just a minute later and Chesterfield were reduced to 10 men. Sordell was brought down by Talbot, with the U’s front-man through on goal, so referee Iain Williamson had no real option but to send off the right-back for a professional foul.
The 10-man Spirites, though, should really have broken the deadlock in the 18th minute. Striker Novak had just keeper Jones to beat, but he lifted the shot narrowly over the bar. That was a glaring miss.
And yet Chesterfield did take the lead just five minutes later, thanks to Dan Jones’ angled free-kick, which deceived the U’s defence and also keeper Jamie Jones.
Humes responded by making an attacking substitution, with Moncur replacing Joe Edwards in the centre of the park in the 28th minute.
And, less than a minute later, the U’s were on level terms, Massey squeezing home his shot from Harriott’s cross to make it 1-1.
It was an entertaining game, and the U’s nearly took the lead in the 38th minute. Livewire Sordell managed to round keeper Lee, and although the angle was acute, he managed to pick out Harriott, whose instinctive shot was deflected over the bar off the boot of defender Charlie Raglan.
Only the woodwork denied the U’s a second goal, just two minutes before half-time. Harriott’s curling shot looked destined for the back of the net, only for the ball to strike the inside of the far post and roll agonisingly to safety.
Into the second half and Gilbey also rattled a post, with a fierce shot in the 50th minute.
Shortly afterwards and Sordell missed an absolute sitter, failing to divert home Massey’s teasing cross from just a couple of feet out.
It was one-way traffic, but the U’s could not find a way through, with Lee clinging onto Owen Garvan’s goal-bound 20-yarder on the hour mark.
And they were made to pay for these missed chances when Novak swept the hosts into a 2-1 lead in the 62nd minute.
Colchester returned to the offensive and Sordell’s close-range header looked a certain goal, until Lee produced an acrobatic, reflex save, on his goal-line.
That was a terrific one-handed save from Lee, who then beat away Harriot’s ferocious shot at his near post on 65 minutes.
Dreadful U’s defending allowed Morsy to net Chesterfield’s third with a close-range volley in the 74th minute, only for Moncur to pull one back just two minutes later.
Gilbey missed a great chance in the 89th minute, as the U’s slipped to defeat.
But Raglan’s own goal gifted the U’s a point.
CHESTERFIELD: Lee, Talbot, Raglan, Evatt, Jones, Ariyibi (sub Fitzwater, 19), O’Shea, Morsy, Banks, Gardner (sub Donohue, 87), Novak (sub Harrison, 83). Unused subs: Cairns, Gnanduillet, Humphreys, Dieseruvwe.
COLCHESTER: Jones, Vincent-Young, Eastman, Elokobi, Briggs (sub Bonne, 88), Garvan, Edwards (sub Moncur, 28), Gilbey, Massey, Sordell, Harriott. Subs: Parish, Kent, Szmodics, Brindley, Ambrose.
Referee: Iain Williamson
Attendance: 5,227 (134 away fans)