Gallery & report: Resilient Colchester United grab a point at Swindon

Rhys Healey, who scored for the U's in today's 2-2 draw at Swindon

Rhys Healey, who scored for the U's in today's 2-2 draw at Swindon - Credit: Richard Blaxall/Focus Images Ltd

Swindon Town 2 Colchester United 2 Colchester United twice battled back from a goal down to secure a good point at Swindon Town

Ex-U’s loanee Michael Smith netted a brace for the Robins, in the 28th and 48th minutes.

But Smith’s double was cancelled out by goals from Rhys Healey (47) and Gavin Massey (52).

For the opener, Smith’s first shot was blocked by Tom Eastman, but the U’s could not clear the danger and when Amari’i Bell squared into the box, an unmarked Smith was able to steer home a low shot past Sam Walker from 10 yards out.

It was Smith’s 10th goal of the season, and his sixth goal in the last seven outings, but he was to improve that record in the second period.

That opening goal arrived just two minutes after U’s striker Healey had seen his goal-bound shot hacked off the goal-line by Jordan Turnbull.

However, Healey was not to be denied, grabbing the equaliser within 50 seconds of the start of the second half.

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Healey raced onto Massey’s defence-splitting through ball and cut inside before smashing an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.

Swindon took just 60 seconds to regain the lead, Smith calmly converting Massimo Luongo’s low cross from just outside the six-yard box, to notch his 11th goal of the campaign.

Back came Colchester, and man-of-the-match Massey made it 2-2 in the 52nd minute.

Freddie Sears rolled a low cross along the face of the six-yard box, and although Healey could not divert home, Massey made no mistake at the far post.

That completed the scoring, although both sides had chances to win it during the last half-hour.

Swindon threatened first after four minutes, when Andy Williams got around the back of the U’s defence. He managed to round keeper Sam Walker, but the ball rolled out of play before he could divert into an empty net.

The U’s struggled to get going, as an attacking force, and Freddie Sears’ attempts at a goal attempt on 12 minutes were thwarted by a good defensive block.

Otherwise, the visitors were erring on the side of caution, allowing the Robins to boss possession and dictate the pace of the game.

Finally the U’s had some joy in the opposing penalty area, thanks to a neat piece of skill from Massey, who managed to set up Healey with a clear sight of goal on 26 minutes.

Healey steadied himself before firing in a shot which was cleared off the goal-line by Turnbull.

And just two minutes later, Swindon took the lead through Smith’s clinical finish from 10 yards out.

The U’s were just content not to concede a second goal before the break, and Walker was relieved to smother another low delivery from left wing-back Bell on 43 minutes.

The game burst into life at the start of the second half, with three goals inside the first seven minutes.

Healey’s 47th minute strike had the U’s on level terms for just 60 seconds, before Smith side-footed home his second goal of the game.

But the U’s equalised for a second time on 52 minutes, via Massey’s close-range tap in.

It was hectic stuff, and Gilbey drilled a shot just a foot wide of the near post, although Swindon were soon back on the offensive.

Walker denied Smith a hat-trick goal in the 55th minute, saving the striker’s goal-bound shot following good build-up play from Luongo.

The U’s keeper was in the action again just a minute later, saving Luongo’s fierce drive, as both sides went in search of a winner.

Luongo turned provider in the 75th minute, setting up right wing-back Nathan Byrne, whose snap shot was superbly pushed away by Walker.

Magnus Okuonghae came to his side’s rescue with a goal-line clearance on 82 minutes. Smith crashed Byrne’s low cross goalwards, from just eight yards out, the ball hitting Okuonghae and ballooning wide.

With three minutes remaining, Sears peppered the target with a ferocious shot that whistled just wide.


SWINDON: Foderingham, Byrne, Stephens, Turnbull, Kasim, Bell (sub Toffolo, 60), Reeves, Thompson, Luongo, Smith, Williams (sub Obika, 67). Unused subs: Belford, Gladwin, Jones, Barthram, Rodgers.

COLCHESTER: Walker, Hewitt, Okuonghae, Eastman, Clohessy, Fox, Moncur, Gilbey (sub Watt, 64), Sears, Healey, Massey. Unused subs: Lewington, Gordon, Eastmond, Lokko, Szmodics, Smith.

Referee: Chris Sarginson (Staffs)

Attendance: 7,871 (246 away fans)