Cousins in form, but Pentney to keep goal at Bishop’s Stortford

COLCHESTER United’s new No. 1, Mark Cousins, proved that he is all set for the new season following an eye-catching performance against Ipswich on Wednesday night.

Cousins was beaten twice by clinical finishes from Michael Chopra, in Town’s 2-1 win, but the 25-year-old kept the score-line down with a number of quality saves.

One save in particular stood out – a fingertip save, at full stretch, to divert Jay Emmanuel-Thomas’ ferocious long-range shot over the bar.

Manager John Ward explained: “Mark is a very good shot stopper.

“He will pull off those saves for us. He’s done it before, and he did it when he had his first spell in the first team, before Ben Williams came back in.

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“I will probably play Carl Pentney on Saturday (at Bishop’s Stortford) because he needs a game too.

“Goalkeepers don’t like half a game here, and half a game there, they want to play the full 90 minutes. We learnt that a couple of years ago with this group.

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“Mark has taken to his place and said – “yes, I’ll have a go at that” – he did OK,” added Ward.

Former U’s No. 1 Williams turned down the offer of a new contract, and instead moved to Scottish Premier Division outfit Hibernian this summer, leaving Cousins to build on his 11 appearances from last season.

Ward chose to rest several of his senior players against Ipswich, with the likes of Freddie Sears, Ian Henderson, Michael Rose and Kem Izzet all unused substitutes.

Instead, the only two substitutes he employed were the talented teenage duo of Alex Gilbey and Drey Wright.

Ward confirmed: “We’ve got one more game (friendly) at Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday, and I will select that group carefully with more than one eye on Yeovil and Preston.

“We put 17-year-olds on the pitch (against Ipswich), to give them a little taste of hopefully what is to come.

“I don’t have big numbers in my senior squad, and I need to man-manage those guys.”

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