Latest defeat leaves Colchester United deep in the relegation mire

Alex Gilbey celebrates his first-half goal with team-mate Marvin Sordell against Fleetwood tonight.

Alex Gilbey celebrates his first-half goal with team-mate Marvin Sordell against Fleetwood tonight. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Scunthorpe United 3 Colchester United 0

Colchester United’s miserable run continued, as they slumped to a comprehensive defeat at managerless Scunthorpe United this afternoon.

The U’s dominated the first half, but could not fashion a goal, and Kevin Keen’s men then leaked three goals in an eight-minute spell, early in the second half.

It means that the U’s have now failed to win in 13 league games, with 11 defeats and two draws, and won just once in their last 18 league games.

After Iron skipper, and joint caretaker manager, Stephen Dawson had rattled the bar in the 50th minute, the hosts took the lead on the hour mark when front-runner Tom Hopper steered home Conor Townsend’s cross from close-in.


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Red-hot striker Paddy Madden scored the first of his brace, in the 62nd minute, to leave the U’s on the rack.

Madden’s close-range shot dropped over the goal-line, via the underside of the bar, following Neal Bishop’s cross into the danger zone.

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And Madden netted his second of the afternoon, and his 16th goal of the season, by drilling a low angled shot past Jake Kean at the near post in the 68th minute.

The result leaves the U’s deep in trouble, and in serious danger of being relegated into League Two.

The U’s had made one change to the side that drew 1-1 at home to Fleetwood Town in midweek.

Midfielder Joe Edwards was preferred to specialist winger Gavin Massey, while new signing Nicky Shorey, the former Reading stalwart left-back, was named amongst the substitutes.

Iron had sacked their manager, Mark Robins, at the start of the week following a 5-0 drubbing at Blackpool last weekend. Nicks Daws and Andy Dawson, who was also skippering the team this afternoon, were in charge on a joint caretaker basis.

It was a cagey opening, between two sides lacking in real width – neither team started with a specialist winger on the pitch.

The U’s were on the back foot early on, although skipper Chris Porter did head narrowly wide from Matt Briggs’ 12th minute corner.

Marvin Sordell lost control of the ball, when on the point of shooting in a dangerous position, while Owen Garvan drilled a 20-yarder a foot wide of target.

The visitors were warming to their task, and Sordell should have done better in the 19th minute when scooping a shot over the bar, and out of the ground, from just 10 yards out.

The U’s went far closer to breaking the deadlock in the 25th minute. George Moncur ghosted onto Porter’s lay-off and made room for himself before pulling the trigger with a fierce shot that whistled inches wide of the post.

Scunthorpe were being forced to defend in depth, and both Edwards and Alex Gilbey had goal-bound shots charged down before the half-hour mark.

It was Moncur’s turn to be denied in the 32nd minute. Scunthorpe struggled to clear a corner, with Edwards amd Tom Eastman winning headers, and when the ball broke to Moncur, he crashed in a shot that was blocked at point blank range by centre-half David Mirfin, at the near post.

Iron threatened in the 39th minute. Keeper Jake Kean ventured towards the edge of his penalty area to punch clear, and the return lob from skipper Stephen Dawson was headed off the goal-line by Alex Wynter.

Just before the break, Gilbey changed onto Porter’s flick and smashed in a shot that was again blocked by a covering defender.

That summed up the U’s in the first half – plenty of chances, but no finishing touch,

Kean was called into action early in the second period, catching left-back Conor Townsend’s header under his bar.

U’s keeper Kean was then beaten by Dawson’s skidding shot, from Paddy Madden’s lay-off, only for the ball to cannon back off the far post and roll to safety. That was a lucky let-off.

But there was no reprieve for the U’s when Hopper nudged the hosts into the lead, on the hour mark, from Townsend’s cross.

And just two minutes later, Scunthorpe doubled the lead thanks to Madden’s slick close-range finish, his shot going in off the underside of the bar following Bishop’s cross.

The game was effectively killed off by the U’s conceding a quickfire third goal, in the 68th minute, Madden drilling home his second of the afternoon from a narrow angle.

Squads

SCUNTHORPE UNITED: Daniels, Wiseman, Mirfin, Wallace, Townsend, Bishop, Dawson, Ness (sub King, 79), Madden, Williams (sub Adelakun, 87), Hopper (sub Wootton, 73). Unsued subs: Anyon, Laird, Henderson, Clarke.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Kean, Brindley, Wynter, Eastman, Briggs, Edwards (sub Ambrose, 69), Garvan, Gilbey, Moncur (sub Massey, 69), Sordell (sub Bonne, 77), Porter. Unused subs: Parish, Elokobu, Wright, Shorey.

Referee: Darren Handley (Lances)

Attendance: 3,332

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