FULL MATCH REPORT AND PLAYER RATINGS: Colchester United have to settle for just the one point against Scunthorpe United on Saturday in Sky Bet League One as the U’s miss some glorious chances to take all three points
- Credit: Richard Blaxall/Focus Images Ltd
SCUNTHORPE UNITED 1 COLCHESTER UNITED 1
Colchester United had to settle for just the one point against a Scunthorpe United side under new management on Saturday, despite the U’s bossing most of the possession and creating the better chances to take all three points that their performance deserved.
Gavin Massey, George Moncur and substitute Rhys Healey all wasted gilt-edged chances towards the death in a second half which was largely controlled by the fearless visitors.
Whereas Healey will argue that ‘keeper Bobby Olejnik provided heroics in turning his angled one-on-one shot onto the post with literally the final act of the game, Massey, and then latterly Moncur in the same move, know they should have scored.
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Colchester goalscorer Freddie Sears also knows that he should have been celebrating more than once on Saturday afternoon after he hit the crossbar from close-range.
The U’s had to come from a goal behind, courtesy of a 20th-minute header from Rory Fallon, inside a Glanford Park atmosphere that was buoyed and buzzing with excitement following newly-appointed manager Mark Robins’ first game in charge of the Iron – and despite their precarious league position of 23rd.
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Being a goal down, and with a new man at the helm to impress – a manager who watched last week’s 3-0 away triumph over Gillingham from the stands – many might have felt that this game was going to be a step too far for Tony Humes’ rejuvenated men.
But quite simply, it was a game the U’s should have won.
Sears was too hot for Scunthorpe to handle all afternoon, and his excellent 33rd-minute strike saw the U’s pull level.
From then on in, Colchester controlled the majority of the game and created by far the better chances, although Scunthorpe themselves missed a sitter, had strong penalty appeals waved away, and wasted a two-on-one situation in a frenetic end to the second period that ultimately left both sides with a point.
In summary, Colchester United know they should have won this game.
In fact, they should have been out of sight. Humes and his management team know it, the 230-strong travelling fans know it, and the U’s players know it, certainly messrs Sears, Massey, Moncur, and Healey.
All four will still be tearing their hair out at golden chances they wasted – which if they had been taken, would have left the U’s sitting in 13th place in the Sky Bet League One – three points and eight places clear of the relegation zone that they climbed out of last week following their first home victory of the season over Fleetwood Town.
If is the operative word here though, and instead, with just one chance taken, it is only the one point for the U’s, and only the one point and five places (16th) clear of the drop zone that they currently find themselves in.
Boosted by the influence of new management, the hosts understandably started brightly but it was Colchester who forced the first notable effort on goal as David Fox struck a powerful 13th-minute effort from the edge of the box that Olejnik not only did well to save, but to hold.
The U’s intent was there and in the 16th minute, a beautifully flowing move from defence to attack should have seen the Iron net rippling.
Goalkeeper Sam Walker, who looked much more assured between the sticks after a few unconvincing performances of late, plucked Gary McSheffrey’s clipped corner out of the air, before bowling out a inch-perfect long throw allowing Massey to tear away with an abundance of pace down the right wing leaving the backtracking Iron defenders for dead.
The in-form winger’s cross was even better, but talisman Sears saw his delicate volley from inside the six-yard box rebound off the underside of the crossbar to safety.
The move deserved a goal and although Sears’ effort would have looked spectacular had it gone in, he knows he should have buried it.
Iron punished the U’s in virtually the next attack of the game after a pinpoint free-kick from McSheffrey saw target man, and former Ipswich Town loanee, Fallon, overpower Elliott Hewitt to head home from close-range in the 20th minute.
Five minutes later, the lead ought to have been doubled as, after an inadvertent touch from Sean Clohessy put Iron top scorer Paddy Madden clean through on goal, he inexplicably lifted his shot over.
The U’s response was swift and immediate though as Sears netted a beautiful equaliser from the edge of the box in the 33rd minute.
Following some very patient build-up in midfield, Sears received a Fox pass, controlled, spun on a sixpence, and nestled a shot into the corner before any of the Scunthorpe centre-halves and goalkeeper had a chance to move.
The U’s then went on to dictate the play in a dramatic finale that could have actually seen them lose the game.
Madden was the culprit again in the 78th minute when, latching onto a misplaced defensive header from Tom Eastman, the striker never really had the ball under control when clean through on goal desperately tumbling under the challenge of the outstanding Frankie Kent that the referee waved away.
Massey twice screwed and blazed shots wastefully wide and over from positions in which he scored a wonderful second goal last week, as the U’s pushed for a late winner – a winner that they should have got.
Massey and then Moncur were the major culprits in the 80th minute.
A flowing move down the U’s right saw Sears cross for Massey to seemingly tap in, but after miscuing and getting his feet mixed up from barely two or three yards on two or three occasions, he passed on responsibility to the perfectly-placed and incoming Moncur, but from six yards, and with desperate Scunthorpe bodies scattered everywhere, the midfielder somehow blazed over.
There was still time for Iron debutant Isaiah Osbourne to waste a two-on-one opportunity.
Before with virtually the last kick of the game, latching onto Massey’s pass, Healey saw his curled effort tipped onto the post by Olejnik.
U’s boss, Tony Humes, knows his side should’ve picked up all three points against Scunthorpe on Saturday.
“We created enough chances to win the game clearly, we just didn’t take them,” admitted Humes.
“That’s the be-all-and-end-all, we had three or four good chances in the second half and we didn’t take them.
“You’re positive in the opinion of yes, we’re playing well, we’ve created chances, but we’ve got to get that ruthlessness, we’ve got to kill teams off, we’ve got to make sure we get those three points.”
It’s difficult really to add much more to what Tony Humes has already said, Colchester United should have won this game.
Even the Claret-eyed home fans around Glandford Park were heard to claim, ‘we’ll take a draw from that’.
The U’s must take the positives though and although Mark Robins will be the far happier manager with a point, Tony Humes will be the far happier knowing his side were by far the better team on the afternoon.
1 Sam Walker -looked a lot more confident 7
39 Elliott Hewitt - lost Fallon for goal, but solid 7
26 Frankie Kent - excellent game at the back, MOTM 8
18 Tom Eastman - got away with big mistake 6
20 Sean Clohessy -solid, but also got away with one 6
8 Alex Gilbey - much better this week 7
24 George Moncur - should have scored winning goal 6
38 David Fox - Mr Reliable, experience vital 7
21 Gavin Massey - super first half, frustrating second 7
7 Sanchez Watt - drifted in and out of the game 6
11 Freddie Sears - brilliant goal and a constant thorn 8
12 Chris Lewington (not used)
3 Ben Gordon (not used)
4 Magnus Okuonghae (not used)
6 Craig Eastmond (not used)
19 Rhys Healey 6 (for Watt, 71)
27 Macauley Bonne (not used)
28 Sammie Szmodics (for Moncur,81)
Freddie Sears may win many plaudits for the nature of his goal that grabbed the U’s a share of the spoils, but 18-year-old centre-half Kent was simply excellent at the back all afternoon for the U’s. Supreme in the air, and on the ground, he deserves the accolade.