Doug Loft on target in Colchester United’s win at Maldon & Tiptree

Doug Loft, who scored in the first half for Colchester United during their first pre-season fixture

Doug Loft, who scored in the first half for Colchester United during their first pre-season fixture of the season, at Maldon & Tiptree today.

Maldon & Tiptree 0 Colchester United 2

Colchester United’s first pre-season of the summer, away at Isthmian North side Maldon & Tiptree, ended in a 2-0 victory in the warm sunshine this afternoon.

Doug Loft netted after 43 minutes, and Louis Dunne added a second on 55 minutes.

There was a debut for summer signing Ryan Jackson, recruited from Gillingham as a replacement for the departed Richard Brindley, while Craig Slater, Frankie Kent, Sammie Szmodics and Denny Johnstone all enjoyed run-outs after their respective long-term injuries from last season.

The U’s had countless chances during the first period, but merely peppered the target until breaking the deadlock just before half-time.


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Midfielder Loft tested the keeper early on, with a low drive on six minutes, while Charley Edge, who impressed at left wing-back, capped a strong run with a neat pass through to Tommy O’Sullivan, whose shot was well saved.

The dominant Loft was narrowly adrift with a well-struck 25-yarder on 14 minutes, and Drey Wright had a close-range header, from a narrow angle, clawed off the goal-line.

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Summer recruit Jackson, operating as a right-wing back, delivered a dangerous cross from which Johnstone scooped a shot wide of target, while off balance and in a good position.

Sean Murray curled a 20-yarder wide of the far post, but the U’s finally took the lead via Loft’s smart finish, two minutes before the interval.

Loft’s low shot from the edge of the box found its way into the bottom corner of the net.

The U’s doubled their lead, 10 minutes into the second half, when Dunne swept home Craig Slater’s free-kick had been dropped by the keeper.

Only the woodwork denied the visitors a third goal on 58 minutes, as Macauley Bonne’s looping header rebounded off the bar and dropped to safety.

SQUADS

Colchester (first half): Barnes, Jackson, Eastman, James, Kent, Edge, Loft, Murray, O’Sullivan, Wright, Johnstone (sub Szmodics, 30).

Colchester (second half): Walker, Vincent-Young, Wynter, Kent (sub Eastman, 65, sub James 81), Kinsella, Lapslie, Slater, Sembie-Ferris, Dunne, Szmodics (sub triallist, 65), Bonne.

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