Colchester United suffer damaging defeat by leaking two late goals at Yeovil
Yeovil Town 2 Colchester United 1
Kurtis Guthrie nodded home his third goal of the season, but it was not enough to secure a long-awaited victory for Colchester United at Yeovil this afternoon.
Instead, Yeovil scored twice in the last five minutes to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
The U’s had looked like ending a miserable run of no wins in 12 games, and no wins in nine league fixtures, by celebrating a first success in 10 weeks.
But it all went wrong at the death, in dramatic fashion.
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Yeovil equalised just five minutes from time, via substitute Francois Zoko, and fellow substitute Tahvon Campbell then plundered an 89th minute winner.
John McGreal’s men were second best for the whole of the first half, and were lucky to still be on level terms at the break.
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But they were a side transformed in the second period, and Guthrie poached looked like being the only goal of the game in the 49th minute.
Brennan Dickenson, the U’s best player, delivered a cross from the left which took a deflection, with keeper Artur Krysiak unable to catch.
The lurking Guthrie could not bundle home the loose ball, but he did tee up Denny Johnstone, whose rising shot thudded back off the bar.
Guthrie was in the right position to head the rebound into an empty net from a matter of a few feet out.
But Zoko smashed home an 85th minute equaliser, from a narrow angle, to bring the Glovers on level terms, and Campbell completed the turnaround by rifling home the winner from 15 yards out, with time running out.
The U’s have therefore now gone 13 games without a win, and 10 league fixtures without a victory.
Yeovil had started the brighter and attacker Otis Khan had a long-range shot comfortably saved by Sam Walker on two minutes.
Kane Vincent-Young, operating at right-back with Richard Brindley switching to left-back, was robbed by Ryan Hedges in a dangerous position, but the eventual cross eluded the awaiting Thomas Eaves, who was lurking on the edge of the six-yard box.
It was largely one-way traffic during the first quarter of the game, and Matthew Dolan should have done better when stabbing wide from close-in following a swift break.
The Glovers should have taken the lead in the 20th minute. Eaves picked out an unmarked Khan with a precise low cross, but he failed to beat Walker from just 10 yards out. The U’s keeper dived to his right to smother the half-hit low shot.
U’s boss McGreal had made three changes to the side that were hammered 3-0 at home by Leyton Orient the previous weekend, with the trio of Vincent-Young, Craig Slater and Denny Johstone replacing Frankie Kent, Glen Kamara and Macauley Bonne.
But although they looked more solid, as a unit, the U’s did not create any chance of note inside the first half-hour. In fact, they hardly even ventured into their host’ penalty area.
At the other end, Eaves blew a great chance to break the deadlock in the 28th minute. Yeovil’s leading scorer looked certain to score, from just a few feet out, but he managed to lift his shot over the bar from Liam Shephard’s excellent cross. It was a glaring miss.
The home side were threatening from every attack, and Eaves was just inches away from stabbing home Hedges’ low delivery, across the face of goal. He arrived just a split-second too late to divert into an unguarded net.
The visitors at least earned a corner, in the 35th minute, but optimistic Drey Wright’s back-heel from Brennan Dickenson’s delivery flew high and wide of target.
A minute later and Denny Johnstone swept a half-chance wide, after being teed up by Kurtis Guthrie. Again home keeper Artur Krysiak was a virtual bystander.
Yeovil threatened again on 39 minutes. Hedges got behind the U’s defence and tried to round Walker, but the winger lost his balance at the vital moment and the chance was gone.
The U’s finally registered an effort on target in the 40th minute, Krysiak back-pedalling to catch Dickenson’s looping header under his bar, from Slater’s cross.
Lucky to still be level at half-time, the U’s struck against the run of play to take the lead in the 49th minute, via Guthrie’s third goal of the season.
Guthrie nodded home from close range, after Johnstone’s shot had bounced down off the bar.
And the U’s nearly doubled their lead in the 56th minute. Guthrie broke swiftly through the middle, finding support from Wright, whose angled 20-yarder rolled agonisingly wide of the far post.
Wright was in the action again shortly afterwards, coming close to heading home Guthrie’s cross from the left.
Yeovil had been forced back in the second half, although Walker did drop a free-kick, only for substitute Tahvon Campbell’s follow-up shot to strike Walker and roll off target, on 75 minutes.
Just five minutes later and the Somerset side missed an even better chance, centre-half Darren Ward heading over the bar from Hedges’ accurate free-kick.
But Yeovil did grab an equaliser shortly afterwards, Zoko firing home from close range to deny the U’s a precious victory.
And Campbell fired home the winner for the hosts, on 89 minutes, to break Colchester hearts.
YEOVIL; Krysiak, Shephard, Ward, Lacey, Dickson, Dolan (sub Whitfield, 41), Dawson (sub Campbell, 68), Butcher, Hedges, Khan (sub Zoko, 53), Eaves. Unused subs: Maddison, Smith, Mgabi, Sowunmi.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Brindley, Wynter, Eastman, Vincent-Young, Lapslie (sub Fosu, 90), Slater, Wright (sub Sembie-Ferris, 77), Guthrie, Dickenson, Johnstone (sub Bonne, 87). Unused subs: Barnes, Kent, Kamara, Dunne.
Referee: Brett Huxtable (Devon)
Attendance: 2,985 (143 away fans)