Colchester United suffer heartbreak of an injury-time equaliser

Gavin Massey, right, who hit the bar in the second half against Scunthorpe this afternoon

Gavin Massey, right, who hit the bar in the second half against Scunthorpe this afternoon

Colchester United 2 Scunthorpe United 2

Colchester United suffered the heart-break of conceding an injury-time equaliser, against Scunthorpe United this afternoon.

Tom Eastman and Chris Porter both scored late on to seemingly complete a fantastic comeback for the U’s, but all that hard work was undone by substitute Hakeeb Adelakun’s 92nd minute equaliser.

Adelakun’s cross-cum-shot took a wicked deflection on its way over keeper Sam Walker and into the roof of the net.

It was cruel on the U’s, who have therefore slithered a step nearer relegation with this loss of two valuable points.


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The U’s seemed to be heading for defeat, trailing to Theo Robinson’s terrific strike after 30 minutes.

Robinson capitalised on a poor headed clearance by Bongani Khumalo, although his finish was top class – a 20-yard shot curling beyond the reach of Sam Walker and into the top far corner of the net.

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It was not until the 82nd minute that the U’s grabbed an equaliser, with Eastman slamming home from close range following David Fox’s corner.

And just four minutes later, Porter raced through to ram home a dramatic goal.

Porter pounced onto Fox’s through ball and beat the onrushing Luke Daniels with a lethal finish. It was his sixth goal of the season.

But the U’s could not hold on.

They have three games left, and will have to win at least two of these, if not all three, to stay up.

The U’s welcomed back two key players after injury.

Keeper Walker, who missed the 6-0 defeat at Chesterfield in midweek with a knee injury, and midfielder Fox, after a four-game absence with a foot problem, were recalled to the starting line-up.

Iron created the first chance of the game, but midfielder Neal Bishop failed to get any real power in his shot, enabling Walker to smother down on his haunches.

The U’s threatened first on six minutes, thanks to Jacob Murphy’s strong run down the left flank. His cross was half-cleared, before Alex Gilbey sliced an opportunist 25-yarder well wide of target.

The hosts came far closer to a goal on 23 minutes. Richard Brindley sneaked behind the Iron back-line, scurrying onto Gavin Massey’s slick pass, but his low shot from an acute angle was blocked by keeper Luke Daniels, with his legs.

A minute later and Massey should have broken the deadlock. The U’s winger benefited from hesitancy between keeper Daniels and defender Marcus Williams, only to send his header a foot wide of the far post with an empty goal beckoning.

At the other end, the U’s defence was caught cold with Paddy Madden bursting clear down the right wing. An accurate pass into the path of team-mate Robinson would surely have resulted in an opening goal, but he failed to find the unmarked striker, and the chance was gone.

However, Robinson was presented with a half-chance, on the half-hour mark, and he obliged with a wonderful finish to put the visitors 1-0 up.

Keeper Daniels’ huge punt forward was caught in the wind, and Bongani Khumalo struggled to clear the danger after the ball had been allowed to bounce on the edge of the penalty area.

In the end, Khumalo’s rather weak header failed to reach Brindley, with Robinson intervening. Iron’s centre forward cut inside onto his right foot and let fly with a stunning shot that soared beyond Walker and into the roof of the net.

That goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of the U’s for the rest of the first period.

Chris Porter did blast over from a good position on 43 minutes, but otherwise Scunthorpe looked quite comfortable.

Into the second half and the U’s showed more urgency early on, with Murphy cracking in a goal-bound shot within 60 seconds of the restart. The ball was deflected through to keeper Daniels.

Just after the hour mark, Fox whipped over a free-kick into the danger zone, in the direction of Porter. Unfortunately, the ball hit Porter in the chest and dropped the wrong side of the near post.

A combination of Daniels and the woodwork denied the U’s an equaliser in the 67th minute. Massey’s angled drive was superbly tipped onto the bar by Iron’s keeper.

Just when it was looked as though the U’s were running out of puff, up popped Eastman to slam home the equaliser from close range with eight minutes remaining.

Porter then put the U’s 2-1 up, only for Adelakun to rescue an injury-time point for Iron.

Squads

COLCHESTER: Walker, Brindley, Khumalo, Eastman, Briggs, Fox, Gilbey (sub Healey, 56), Moncur, Massey, Porter, Murphy (sub Sembie-Ferris, 76). Unused subs: Lewington, Wynter, Bonne, Szmodics, Lapslie.

SCUNTHORPE: Daniels, Clarke, Boyce, Canavan, Williams, Bishop (sub Evans, 76), Osbourne, Lundstram (sub Adeliakun, 87), Madden, Robinson (sub Wootton, 76), McSheffrey. Unused subs: Anyon, Van Veen, Evans, Townsend, Llera.

Referee: Peter Bankes (Merseyside)

Attendance: 4,551 (283 away fans)

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