Colchester United sink into the relegation zone after a five-goal thriller

Richard Brindley, who was left exposed for Barnsley's second goal, and then fired a shot narrowly wi

Richard Brindley, who was left exposed for Barnsley's second goal, and then fired a shot narrowly wide early in the second period - Credit: Richard Blaxall/Focus Images Ltd

Colchester United 2 Barnsley 3

Colchester United slithered into the relegation zone, for the first time in three months, despite staging a second-half comeback against visiting Barnsley this afternoon.

Barnsley, who began the day at the bottom of the table, were 3-0 up and coasting after an hour, thanks to goals by midfielder Conor Hourihane (18 minutes), winger Adam Hammill (40) and striker Ivan Toney (60).

But the U’s staged a fight-back, eating into the Tykes’ lead with quickfire goals by George Moncur (67) and Chris Porter (70).

However, they could not rescue a point, so sliding to their sixth league defeat on the bounce, punished for what had been a desperately disappointing first-half display.

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Their problems began when they conceded an opening goal after 18 minutes.

The U’s defence was breached right through the middle, with Sam Winnall scurrying clear and rounding keeper Jamie Jones, before he was left sprawling on the ground.

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But the ball broke kindly for the onrushing Hourihane, who steered home into an unguarded net.

It went from bad to worse, when the Tykes deservedly doubled their lead on 40 minutes.

Winnall’s precision pass caught out right-back Richard Brindley, with winger Hammill bursting into the penalty area uncontested to slot his low drive beyond the reach of an exposed Jones.

The U’s improved in the second-half, inspired by half-time substitute Chris Porter, but they still leaked a third goal on the hour mark.

Winger Marley Watkins had the time and space to whip over a cross from the right flank, and an unmarked Toney guided his downward header into the far corner of the net.

The home side gave themselves a glimmer of hope, by reducing Barnsley’s advantage to 3-1 in the 67th minute.

Porter capitalised on a defensive error to tee up Moncur, and he duly rifled home his ninth goal of the season from a narrow angle.

And Porter himself made it 3-2 just three minutes later. The U’s club captain chested down Harriott’s delivery and then volleyed spectacularly into the roof of the net, via the underside of the bar.

The U’s had several chances to score an equaliser, with both Porter and Marvin Sordell failing to hit the target from point-blank range, but Barnsley held on to claim all three points.


COLCHESTER: Jones, Brindley, Eastman, Elokobi, Briggs (sub Vincent-Young, 66), Edwards (sub Porter, 46), Gilbey, Moncur, Massey (sub Bonne, 74), Sordell, Harriott. Unused subs: Parish, Kent, Lapslie, Szmodics,.

BARNSLEY: Davies, Wabara, Mawson, Nyatanga, White, Watkins, Pearson, Hourihane, Hammill, Winnall, Toney. Unused subs: Townsend, Roberts, Williams, Isgrove, Bree, Jackson, Smith.

Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffs)

Attendance: 3,265 (288 away fans)

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