GALLERY & REPORT: U’s fight back in thrilling draw with Bristol City as Freddie Sears lets fly with a stunner

Jabo Ibehre

Jabo Ibehre - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Gavin Massey and Freddie Sears struck twice in the space of five minutes as battling Colchester United grabbed a deserved point today at home to Bristol City.

City had led through a Martin Paterson ninth minute goal.

And when Scott Wagstaff made it two early in the second period, you would have been forgiven for thinking the U’s were going to take anything out of this match.

But first Massey and then Sears stunning 25-yarder gave Joe Dunne’s side a share of the spoils, no more than they deserved.

Ryan Dickson brought down Martin Paterson in the first minute, and Emmanuel-Thomas’ kick was headed across goal by Nyron Nosworthy, but cleared.

Emmanuel-Thomas thundered in a shot that Sam Walker spilled but he gathered at the second attempt.

Former Ipswich Town star Emmanuel-Thomas was causing early problems for the U’s defence and it was his dancing run into the area that gave the visitors the lead in the ninth minute.

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After Emmanuel-Thomas squeezed past two U’s defenders he squared the ball and after a scramble, Paterson tucked home.

It was a bad goal for the home side to concede and Emmanuel-Thomas nearly secured a second a few minutes later but put his shot over the bar.

Alex Gilbey shot off target as the U’s began to settle but going forward City looked good.

Dominic Vose put Gavin Massey in after 19 minutes but Massey’s cross along the six-yard area was cleared.

Dickson’s free kick was a beauty and caused confusion in the home defence. The ball came back to Sanchez Watt who tee’d up Gilbey, and Frank Fielding in the visiting goal tipped clear his shot.

Watt shot tamely as the U’s began to get more into the game but at the other end Sam Baldock shot straight at Walker.

Marcus Bean and Vose set up Jabo Ibehre but his header went just wide and then Vose shot straight at Fielding.

The U’s were having more possession but it was Bristol who looked the more dangerous on the break and Emmanuel-Thomas should have scored after being put in with just Walker to beat, but he side-footed his effort wide.

The early goal had meant it had been City’s half and they were certainly more potent on the break than Colchester.

However, the U’s were still in it as the second half got underway.

But Bristol got a crucial second no sooner had the second half started.

An overlapping run by Brendan Moloney saw his low cross cause all sorts of problems in the U’s defence.

Walker saved well as Wagstaff shot, but the ball flew up high and bounced into the net.

It was just the start to the second half the U’s did not want and almost immediately Sears replaced Watt.

Sears impression was immediate and a superb dipping volley had Fielding tipping the ball over.

Vose continued to be lively but the U’s final ball was often wanting, with Ibehre not being able to impose himself on the match as he done against Shrewsbury on Tuesday.

Gilbey had a run and cross which came to nothing and although the U’s work rate could not be faulted, they lacked the quality to break down a defence well led by Nosworthy.

And after 73 minutes the U’s got their reward.

Ibehre held the ball up and brought Bean into the game. His cross was perfect for Gavin Massey to shoot home from four yards.

The U’s now had their tails up and it was 2-2 five minutes later when substitute Freddie Sears cut in from the left and fired home an unstoppable shot from 25 yards.

It was all Colchester. The equaliser was deserved after their heads never went down, despite being two down.

Tom Eastman cleared as City found their second wind, still recovering from Sear’s strike.

Up the other end Ibehre’s shot was narrowly as five minutes of added-time was played. And substitute Macualey Bonne headed inches wide with seconds remaining.

In the end it was a point each, the U’s taking four points from two home games this week and showing plenty of character t’boot.

Teams: Colchester: S Walker, R Dickson, M Okuonghae, S Watt, M Bean, J Ibehre, T Eastman, G Massey, A Gilbey, D Vose, A Sesay. Subs: M Cousins, D Wright, C Eastmond, C Morrison, F Sears, T Olufemi, M Bonne.

Bristol City: F Fielding, B Moloney, D Williams, N Nosworthy, K Osborne, W Elliott, S Baldock, J Emmanuel-Thomas, S Wagstaff, S Gillett, M. Paterson. Subs: G Cunningham, D Richards, L Kelly, S Pearson, M Pack, W Buns, T Barnett

Attendance: 3,805

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