Colchester United suffer penalty shoot-out anguish
Colchester United 3 Gillingham 3 (Gillingham won 4-2 on penalties)
Colchester United twice took the lead, but ultimately crashed out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at the hands of Gillingham in a second round tie last night, after a penalty shoot-out.
Goals from Drey Wright and Sanchez Watt were cancelled out by strikes from the Gills trio of Brennan Dickenson, Bradley Dack and Antonio German, only for Freddie Sears to conjure up an 87th minute equaliser.
But the Gills won the ensuing penalty shoot-out 4-2. Sears and Sean Clohessy both scored for the U’s, but George Moncur and Tom Eastman had teir spot kicks saved by keeper Stuart Nelson, who then buried the winning penalty.
Drey Wright had broken the deadlock with a sensational strike, to hand the U’s a 17th minute lead.
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The left winger let fly with a rasping shot, from 25 yards out, which soared past a stunned Stuart Nelson and into the roof of the net, just under the bar.
But slack defending enabled Gillingham to equalise just seven minutes later. Dickenson managed to sneak between centre-halves Tom Eastman and Frankie Kent to beat Sam Walker with a crisp low finish.
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A soft penalty enabled the U’s to regain their lead, six minutes before half-time.
Rhys Healey took a tumble in the box, under Callum Davies’ challenge, and referee Mike Bull pointed to the spot, even though Healey had just seemed to lose his footing.
Up stepped Watt to coolly dispatch the ensuing penalty.
United had really dominated the first half, but it was far more even in the second period and the Gills equalised for the second time in the game in the 56th minute.
Flying winger Jermaine McGlashan sprinted past Sean Clohessy and delivered a low cross for Duck to divert home from close range.
And German then struck with what appeared to be the winning goal in the 75th minute, bundling home from close in following a penetrative run and cross by Armine Linganzi.
The Gills looked to be heading for victory in normal time, but they were denied by Sears, who swept home an 87th minute equaliser following good work by Elliott Hewitt.
Right-back Hewitt enjoyed an impressive U’s debut, following his loan switch from Ipswich Town on Monday afternoon.
But it all ended in penalty shoot-out anguish for the U’s.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Hewitt, Kent (sub David Wright, 46), Eastman, Clohessy, Eastmond, Moncur, Massey (sub Szmodics, 82), Drey Wright, Healey (sub Sears, 70), Watt. Unused subs: Lewington, Gordon.
GILLINGHAM: Nelson, Fish, Legge, Davies, Martin (sub Hoyte, 76), Hessenthaler, McGlashan, Linganzi, Dack, German (sub Millbank, 76), Dickenson. Unused subs: Morris, Hare, McKain.
Referee: M Bull (Essex)
Attendance: 1,401 (231 away fans)