Colchester United slump to home defeat

Jabo Ibehre gives chase

Jabo Ibehre gives chase - Credit: Su Anderson

REPORT & GALLERY: Colchester United 0 Doncaster Rovers 1

Colchester United are still searching for their first victory of the season, after slumping to a home defeat at the hands of Doncaster Rovers this afternoon.

The U’s have only managed one point from their first four league games, after Kyle Bennett struck with a second-half winner for the Yorkshire side.

Having played so well at Notts County just three days earlier, only to lose, this was a far less impressive performance from Joe Dunne’s men.

They will need to pick themselves up for another home game next Saturday, against Peterborough United.

Rovers took the lead in the 65th minute, via a clinical finish by Bennett.

It looked like the U’s had survived a mad goalmouth scramble, when Dean Furman had been unable to squeeze home in a congested six-yard box.

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Alex Gilbey eventually swept the loose ball away, but the danger was not over, and Bennett crashed home a low shot from 15 yards out, beyond the reach of Sam Walker. The U’s keeper may have been slightly unsighted.

That was enough to inflict a fourth defeat in five league and cup games on Colchester this season.

The U’s, who were unchanged from Tuesday night’s frustrating 2-1 defeat at Notts County, started brightly and threatened after just four minutes.

Freddie Sears had scored his first goal of the season at Meadow Lane, and he was close to doubling his tally with a header which drifted wide from George Moncur’s cross.

At the other end, Tom Eastman had to be alert to block Dean Furman’s shot at point blank range.

Sears was in the thick of the early action, and he tried his luck with a 20-yarder on 15 minutes, although this effort flashed wide with keeper Jed Steer untroubled.

Moncur sparked off a slick U’s attack on 18 minutes. The West Ham loanee burst through the middle and found Sears on the flank.

It was Sean Clohessy who provided the final cross, from which Jabo Ibehre’s shot on the turn was smothered by Steer, down at his near post.

Five minutes later and Dominic Vose, operating in a more central role behind the front two of Ibehre and Sears, let fly from distance with a shot that curled only a foot wide of the upright.

Chances then dried up, for both sides, until Theo Robinson headed only a foot over the top from James Coppinger’s teasing cross on the half-hour mark. That was the best opportunity of the game, so far.

Just before half-time, Ibehre flashed a header wide from a corner, which was the last goal attempt of a rather disappointing first period.

It was a subdued start to the second half, although Sears did manage to poke Marcus Bean’s cross goalwards on 54 minutes. But there was no power in the volley, and Steer easily gathered.

Rovers’ first chance of the second period fell to Furman, following Bennett’s positive run on the hour mark. Furman’s low drive was saved at his near upright by a sprawling Sam Walker.

But the visitors did break the deadlock just five minutes later, thanks to Bennett’s cleanly-struck low drive.

The U’s rarely looked like finding an equaliser, although Ibehre was close to converting Clohessy’s cross in the 84th minute. Defender Jamie McCombe had to hastily clear.

Two minutes later and Rovers should have doubled their lead, only for Magnus Okuonghae to superbly block Theo Robinson’s goalbound shot from point blank range.


COLCHESTER: Walker, Clohessy, Okuonghae, Eastman, Gordon, Gilbey, Moncur (sub Eastmond, 72), Bean (sub Holman, 72), Sears, Ibehre, Vose (sub Massey, 72). Unused subs: Lewington, Kent, Szmodics, Curtis.

DONCASTER: Steer, Wabara, McCullough, McCombe, Furman, Evina, Keegan, De Val, Bennett, Coppinger, Robinson (sub Tyson, 87)

Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey)

Attendance: 3,162

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