Colchester United suffer ninth league defeat on the spin

Marvin Sordell, back in the U's side after injury, missed an early chance at Gillingham this afterno

Marvin Sordell, back in the U's side after injury, missed an early chance at Gillingham this afternoon - Credit: Richard Blaxall/Focus Images Ltd

Gillingham 1 Colchester United 0

Colchester United slithered to their ninth league defeat on the bounce, on the other side of the River Thames at Gillingham this afternoon.

The U’s, like in their 2-0 home defeat to Southend United on Boxing Day, played well for the first 45 minutes, and were unlucky not to be ahead.

But the Gills took control after the break and Dominic Samuel, a former U’s loanee (from Reading), prodded home from close in to break the deadlock in the 70th minute.

The U’s failed to clear their line as centre-half John Egan, the Gills captain, helped the ball goalwards, and it was striker Samuel who was the quickest to react, stabbing past a rather static Elliot Parish.

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That goal was enough to inflict yet another loss on the U’s, who have now taken just four points from a possible 42 in their last 14 league games.

They therefore remain bottom of League One.

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The U’s certainly edged the first half, looking solid with a 4-4-2 formation that has been rarely used by the club in recent seasons.

Back in the starting line-up after tweaking his knee during the 3-1 defeat at Rochdale, 10 days ago, Marvin Sordell was eying up the target inside two minutes at Priestfield.

Operating as a front two, with Chris Porter, Sordell turned to lash in a rising shot which whistled only a foot over the bar.

Fresh from a 3-1 win at Swindon on Boxing Day, the Gills were desperately close to breaking the deadlock in the ninth minute. Jake Hessenthaler ended up poking the ball over the bar, from point blank range, after Donnelly had flicked on Ryan Jackson’s teasing cross.

Midway through the first-half and a mistake by former U’s loanee Bradley Garmston allowed Gavin Massey to run free down the right flank.

It was a promising counter-attack from the visitors, and Porter’s final shot from Sordell’s delivery flew only a foot wide of the near post.

Only some acrobatics from Stuart Nelson denied the U’s a goal in first-half stoppage time.

The home keeper arched back to claw George Moncur’s dipping 20-yarder over the bar, and he then blocked at point blank range from George Elokobi’s toe-poke, following a corner routine.

The woodwork came to Gillingham’s rescue on the hour mark. Porter’s deft header looped over Nelson, but grazed the top of the bar.

But Gillingham got their noses in front, thanks to Samuel’s close-range finish on 70 minutes.

And the woodwork denied the Gills a second goal, just six minutes later, with Egan’s 30-yard shot beating Parish, only to thud back off the bar.

The U’s soaked up the pressure, and then nearly rescued a point in the 86th minute. Sordell’s close-range header was superbly blocked by keeper Nelson, following Moncur’s precise cross.

Sordell was denied by Nelson again in the 90th minute, failing to score with just the keeper to beat. Nelson parried a rather powder-puff shot.


GILLINGHAM: Nelson, Jackson, Egan, Ehmer, Garmston, Wright (sub Loft, 46), Hessenthaler, A Morris, Dack (sub McGlashen, 80), Donnelly (sub Norris, 46), Samuel. Unused subs: G Morris, Osadebe, List, Oshilaja.

COLCHESTER: Parish, Brindley, Eastman, Elokobi, Briggs, Edwards (sub Garvan, 80), Gilbey, Moncur, Massey (sub Harriott, 76), Sordell, Porter (sub Wright, 80). Unused subs: Barnes, Wynter, Bonne, Ambrose.

Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire)

Attendance: 7,109 (345 away fans)

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