Exeter City 1 Colchester United 0: Missed penalty costs U’s dear in another defeat
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Exeter City 1 Colchester United 0
Colchester United’s disappointing 2017-18 season ended in defeat, at play-off bound Exeter City in warm sunshine in Devon this afternoon.
The U’s were made to pay for a penalty miss, Sammie Szmodics failing to convert his spot kick on the hour mark.
Substitute Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe won the penalty, by drawing the foul from Pierce Sweeney, but Szmodics aimed his spot kick straight down the middle, with keeper Christy Pym making a good save.
It was Szmodics’ second penalty miss on the bounce, following his failure to bury an effort in the 1-0 home defeat by Yeovil in March.
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Exeter responded by grabbing the winner in the 71st minute.
Robbie Simpson was in the right place at the far post to head home a precise cross by Sweeney.
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The U’s therefore ended the season with four defeats from their last five matches, and just one point gained from a possible 15.
The U’s made two changes to the side which shared a goalless draw with Swindon in their last home game of the season, last weekend.
In came leading scorer Szmodics and also Ryan Gondoh, in place of loanee Ben Stevenson and Drey Wright. For Gondoh, it was his full Football League debut, after an impressive cameo appearance as a substitute against the Robins.
Keeper Dillon Barnes was handed his second League appearance, after making his debut the previous weekend.
Hosts Exeter, in fourth spot before kick-off, were guaranteed a play-off berth but could not finish in the automatic promotion zone.
Not surprisingly, it was a very low-key opening, although the Grecians came close to breaking the deadlock in the 12th minute.
Frankie Kent made a hash of an attempted clearance, completely missing his kick and so allowing Liam McAlindon to get behind the defence. McAlindon managed to clip the ball over Barnes, who was in no-man’s land, but Jordan Tillson headed over with an empty goal beckoning.
That was a lucky let-off for the U’s, and centre-half Kent in particular.
Three minutes later and Barnes made his first save of the match, diving to his right to palm away a low drive from Ryan Harley.
Gondoh registered the first goal attempt for the visitors on 18 minutes, although he dragged his rather optimistic 25-yarder well wide of the near upright.
Ten minutes later and Kent did well to divert a dangerous cross by Kyle Edwards behind for a corner, while McAlindon’s header, which beat Barnes to nestle in bottom corner of the net, was ruled out for a shove by the striker on 41 minutes.
The U’s did not actually have a shot on target in that first period, and in response John McGreal made a change for the start of the second half with Ogedi-Uzokwe replacing Mikael Mandron up top.
And Ogedi-Uzokwe was soon in the action, being fouled in the box by right-back Pierce Sweeney for a penalty on the hour mark.
Ogedi-Uzokwe seemed keen to take it himself, but instead Szmodics took on the responsibility, only to see his spot kick saved by keeper Pym.
Szmodics tried to make quick amends, and he created space inside the box before scooping a shot over the bar on 65 minutes.
At the other end, the woodwork denied the Grecians an opening goal just two minutes later, Dean Moxey’s right-footed effort striking the inside of the post and rolling to safety.
But the Devon side did take the lead in the71st minute, via Simpson’s smart finish with a header.
The U’s tried to find an equaliser. Gondoh’s dangerous course was hastily cleared by the diving Tillson, and Luke Prosser then had a downward header roll agonisingly wide of the far post in the 86th minute.
EXETER: Pym, Sweeney, Archibald-Henville, Tillson, Harley (sub Woodman, 58), Simpson, Moore-Taylor (sub Seaborne, 58), McLindon, Moxey (sub James, 81), Edwards, Boateng. Unused subs: Jones, Woodman, Jay, Wilson, Loft.
COLCHESTER: Barnes, Jackson, Prosser, Kent, Vincent-Young, Comley, Senior (sub Wright, 76), Murray (sub Lapslie, 76), Szmodics, Gondoh, Mandron (sub Ogedi-Uzokwe, 46). Unused subs: Walker, Eastman, Issa, Simms.
Referee: Charles Breakspear (Surrey)
Attendance: 4,615 (174 away fans)