Colchester United slither to a disappointing defeat at Grimsby

Owen Garvan, whose error led to Grimsby taking the lead against the U's at Blundell Park

Owen Garvan, whose error led to Grimsby taking the lead against the U's at Blundell Park

Grimsby Town 1 Colchester United 0

Colchester United suffered a blow, to their League Two play-off hopes, by succumbing to a narrow defeat at Grimsby Town tonight.

The U’s created the better of the scoring opportunities, but had nothing to show for their endeavours on their first visit to Blundell Park for 14 years.

And they were caught by a sucker punch, just before half-time, with Sam Jones bundling home a 43rd minute winner from close-in.

Owen Garvan was caught napping in the middle of the park, and was duly robbed of possession by Jones.

Suddenly, Calum Dyson was charging down the left flank, and he was able to power past Cameron James before squaring for fellow striker Jones, who had advanced into the six-yard box, to tap home from a matter of a few feet out.

The injury-hit U’s worked hard to fashion an equaliser, but they were never at their best.

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This was only their fourth defeat in their last 16 league fixtures.

The U’s showed two changes from the side that beat struggling Hartlepool 2-1 on Saturday. Tarique Fosu and Drey Wright were both handed rare starts, in place of the injured Kurtis Guthrie and Richard Brindley.

Guthrie badly injured his ankle against Hartlepool, and so was forced to miss his first match of the season, while it was only the second time this campaign that right-back Brindley had failed to start a league game.

Grimsby dominated the early possession, but it was the U’s who so nearly broke the deadlock on 10 minutes. Fosu’s cracking long-range shot cannoned back off the post, with keeper James McKeown rooted to the spot.

Both sides struggled to make any real headway, and U’s keeper Sam Walker merely watched as the Mariners’ first goal attempt, a 20-yarder from Jamey Osborne in the 23rd minute, drifted wide of his post.

At the other end, livewire Fosu went close again in the 25th minute. This time his angled drive, from 10 yards out, was kept out by McKeown’s outstretched leg.

From the ensuing corner, taken short by Owen Garvan, left wing-back Brennan Dickenson cracked in a shot that flew wide of the near upright.

Fosu was the victim of several fouls during the first half-hour, and when he was felled just outside the box on 30 minutes, Dickenson was unable to lift the free-kick over the defensive wall from a promising position.

But Grimsby scored, out-of-the-blue, when Jones tapped home a 43rd minute opener after Garvan had been robbed in the middle of the park.

The U’s tried to respond quickly, with a bright start to the second period, and Chris Porter was just a whisker away from diverting home Dickenson’s excellent cross from point blank range, in the 48th minute.

George Elokobi also headed narrowly wide from Garvan’s free-kick, on 54 minutes, while Walker was forced into his first save of the match by holding onto Chris Clements’ 63rd minute free-kick.

There was a lot of huff-and-puff from the visitors, but they did not really threaten again until keeper McKeown palmed away a shot by substitute Kane Vincent-Young in the 82nd minute.

Squads

GRIMSBY TOWN: McKeown, Mills, Collins, Pearson, Andrew, Gunning, Bolarinwa, Osborne (sub Comley, 56), Clements, Jones (sub Maxwell, 89), Dyson (sub Vernon, 85). Unused subs: Davies, Vose, Boyce, Yussuf.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Walker, James, Elokobi, Briggs, Wright (sub Vincent-Young, 80) Garvan, Lapslie (sub Pyke, 74), Dickenson, Murray, Fosu, Porter. Unused subs: Barnes, Wynter, Slater, Kinsella, Edge.

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincs)

Attendance: 4,186 (141 away fans)

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