Colchester United suffer third defeat on the bounce
- Credit: Archant
Colchester United 0 Coventry City 1
Colchester United slithered to their third successive league defeat, undone by Gary Madine’s 74th minute winner for visiting Coventry City this afternoon.
Substitute Kemar Roofe gave away possession, in the middle of the park, and the U’s were made to pay.
Danny Swanson managed to sneak behind the U’s back four, and although his shot was blocked by Sam Walker, the ball squirmed loose for the alert Madine to bury the rebound from inside the six-yard box.
As a result, lowly Coventry leapfrog the U’s in the League One table. Tony Humes’ men also suffered recent league defeats at the hands of Port Vale and Barnsley.
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The home side’s best spell was early in the second period, but they failed to seriously test Sky Blues keeper Ryan Allsop.
The U’s miserable afternoon was complete when skipper Magnus Okuonghae was stretchered off late in the game with a leg injury.
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The U’s handed an immediate Football League debut to Cole Kpekawa, who had only arrived at the club on loan from QPR on Thursday morning. The 18-year-old filled the left-back role.
Coventry had the first chance to score, when Ipswich Town loanee Frank Nouble charged clear of the U’s back-line.
But the striker, who tends to blow hot and cold, could not squeeze his shot beyond the onrushing Sam Walker, even though he reached the loose ball before the U’s keeper.
Debutant Kpekawa settled in well at left-back, and one particularly strong run saw him burst past Jim O’Brien down the flank. He whipped over a cross into the danger zone, but it was cut out by defender Aaron Martin.
At the other end, Sheffield Wednesday loanee Gary Madine squandered an opportunity from a 25-yard free-kick, scooping his effort well over the top with Walker untroubled.
O’Brien fared slightly better, on 19 minutes, as his instinctive volley, from Ryan Haynes’ cross, swerved only a yard over the bar.
Five minutes later and George Moncur, playing his first game as a fully-fledged Colchester player (having signed a permanent deal earlier in the week), registered the U’s best goal attempt of the first half.
Moncur’s 20-yarder flew only a couple of feet wide of the far upright.
The U’s had a lucky let-off on the half-hour mark. Right-back Reda Johnson delivered a wicked-looking cross, which flew dangerously across the face of Walker’s goal. Fortunately, there was no team-mate on hand to divert home.
The game’s first attempt on target arrived as late as the 38th minute. Alex Giley was fouled on the right edge of the box, before cracking in a goal-bound shot, and Sanchez Watt’s effort from the ensuing free-kick was finger-tipped over the bar by keeper Ryan Allsop.
Into the second half and Kpekawa tried his luck with a ferocious 20-yarder which ballooned over the bar. It was superbly struck, but lacked accuracy.
The U’s had stepped up a gear, since the break, and Gavin Massey peppered the target with a shot from an acute angle, following Moncur’s fine pass on 51 minutes.
But Coventry should really have broken the deadlock on the hour mark. Madine’s header, from a corner, rolled across the face of goal with Johnson looking odds on to stab home, but he missed his kick and the chance was gone.
Madine himself almost scored in the 65th minute, but his goal-bound low drive was superbly blocked by defender Okuonghae.
But Madine did score, on 74 minutes, to clinch all three points for the Sky Blues after Walker could only half-block Swanson’s shot.
And they could have scored more late on, with Madine was so close to burying Haynes’ teasing low cross in the 76th minute.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Clohessy, Okuonghae, Eastman, Kpekawa, Fox (sub Szmodics, 70), Moncur, Gilbey, Massey (sub Roofe, 70), Sears, Watt (sub Healey, 63). Unused subs: Lewington, Eastmond, O’Donoghue, Hewitt.
COVENTRY CITY: Allsop, Phillips, Martin, Webster, Johnson, Haynes, O’Brien (sub Swanson, 71), Fleck, Finch, Nouble (sub Barton, 83), Madine. Unused subs: Charles-Cook, Thomas, McQuoid, Maddison, Miller.
Referee: A Woolmer (Northants)