Lee grabs last gasp equaliser for U’s
Rotherham 2 Colchester United 2
Elliot Lee grabbed an equaliser in the fourth and last minute of injury time to rescue an unlikely point for Colchester United in South Yorkshire this afternoon.
Lee’s close-range header struck the underside of the bar and dropped over the line, before keeper Adam Collin could intervene.
It was the West Ham loanee’s first goal for the club, and it was a precious one.
The U’s had taken an early lead but were second best for most of the afternoon, as hosts Rotherham seemed to be heading for all three points at the New York Stadium.
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Marcus Bean headed the U’s in front in the sixth minute, diving forwards to meet Luke Garbutt’s corner with a firm header that flew in off the far post.
But the visitors could not hold onto their lead for more than two minutes.
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Cian Bolger allowed Joe Skarz’s cross to soar over his head, and the lurking Matt Tubbs did not need a second invitation, steering the ball home past an exposed Sam Walker from just six yards out.
More slack defending allowed Rotherham to take the lead in the 22nd minute. The U’s could not clear their lines, around their six-yard box, and the alert Kieran Agard was able to ram home from close in.
But the U’s came up trumps at the death.
U’s boss Joe Dunne had named an unchanged side from last weekend’s 1-0 home win over Peterborough, which was the U’s first victory in 12 games.
New signing Dominic Vose, the former West Ham youngster, was amongst the substitutes, as was Tom Eastman on his return from an ankle injury.
It took just six minutes for the U’s to take the lead, thanks to Bean’s precise header from Garbutt’s corner.
But Rotherham were level within two minutes. Poor defending by Bolger enabled Tubbs to steer home from close range.
The U’s defence was caught napping again, from a long ball pumped forward on 13 minutes. Fortunately, though, Tubbs could not control a bouncing ball and Walker safely gathered just inside his box.
However, the Millers did not take long to get their noses in front, with Agard bagging his fourth goal of the season from point blank range in the 22nd minute.
The U’s could not get a foothold in the game, and were struggling to gain any possession, although Jeffrey Monakana did balloon a shot over the top on the half-hour mark.
At the other end, Walker performed heroics to prevent Mark Bradley’s goal-bound header from sneaking in at his near post. The U’s keeper parried at point blank range.
From the ensuing corner, taken by Ben Pringle on 32 minutes, an unmarked Agard headed into the path of Bradley, but this time he lifted his shot over the bar.
Rotherham could really have been out of sight long before half-time, and it needed a fine last ditch challenge from Brian Wilson to prevent Alex Revell from sweeping home Tubbs’ cross.
The U’s defence was creaking again in the 41st minute. Tubbs’ acrobatic kick flew narrowly over the bar, again from very close in, following more poor marking.
Lucky to be only trailing by one goal at half-time, the U’s tried to fashion an equaliser early in the second period and Craig Eastmond had a shot deflected wide on 47 minutes.
Four minutes later and Macauley Bonne, who had scored the winner against Peterborough last weekend, appeared as a substitute for Jeffrey Monakana.
Garbutt squandered a great chance to score in the 54th minute. The Everton loanee raced onto Bonne’s pass and had just keeper Adam Collin to beat. But he screwed his shot wide of target.
But Rotherham continued to look dangerous themselves, and Walker did well to divert away Tubbs’ angled drive on 65 minutes.
A minute later and Bean took a tumble inside the Millers penalty area, under a challenge from Agard. Referee Seb Stockbridge waved play on, which looked the correct decision.
Rotherham had the ball in the back of the net for a third time in the 80th minute, but Kari Arnason’s header from Pringle’s cross was ruled out for offside.
With five minutes remaining, Alex Gilbey let fly with a 25-yarder that keeper Collin palmed to safety.
But with time running out, Lee nodded home a dramatic equaliser.
ROTHERHAM: Collin, Bradley, Arnason, Mills, Skarz, Agard, O’Connor (sub Milson, 90), Frecklington, Pringle (sub Brindley, 90+2), Revell, Tubbs (sub Eaves, 86). Unused subs: Shearer, Nardiello, Tidser, Rowe.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Wilson, Okuonghae, Bolger, Garbutt, Eastmond (sub Bond, 59), Bean (sub Szmodics, 82), Monakana (sub Bonne, 51), Morrison, Gilbey, Lee. Unused subs: Cousins, Dickson, Eastman, Vose.
Referee: Seb Stockbridge (Tyne & Wear)