Lincoln City 2 Colchester United 1: Courtney Senior bags equaliser but U’s lose at the death
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Lincoln City 2 Colchester United 1
Super sub Courtney Senior nearly bagged a point for Colchester United, at play-off chasing Lincoln City this afternoon, ony for Imps substitute Luke Waterfall to strike with a 93rd minute winner.
Senior netted within three minutes of coming on as a substitute, at Sincil Bank, at the end of a week in which he had signed a new two-year deal.
But the U’s top-seven hopes were finally ended by this result, with just two matches remaining, Waterfall heading home a last gasp winner.
Lincoln took the lead in the 55th minute, via the penalty spot.
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Ryan Jackson was adjudged to have shoved substitute Ollie Palmer inside the box, and up stepped Elliott Whitehouse to send Sam Walker the wrong way with a clinical penalty.
However, the U’s equalised out of the blue, just five minutes later, thanks to Senior’s pinpoint finish.
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Senior had only been on the pitch for three minutes, as a 57th minute substitute, but he found the composure to direct a low effort into the bottom corner of the net from a tight angle.
It was Senior’s fourth goal of the season, on his 16th league appearance.
Lincoln ended the match with 10 men, centre-half Michael Bostwick sent off for a professional foul on Mikael Mandron, when the Frenchman was homing in on goal in the 83rd minute.
But there was a sting in the tail, centre-half Waterfall heading into the roof of the net from six yards out, in the final minute.
The U’s had made one change from the side that were beaten 3-1 at home by Notts County last weekend. Leading scorer Sammie Szmodics was relegated to the bench, with Sean Murray handed a rare start.
Two former Braintree Town stalwarts, left-back Sam Habergham and right winger Alex Woodyard, were in the Lincoln starting line-up.
There was a terrific atmosphere before kick-off, with Sincil Bank virtually full.
The U’s nearly quietened the crowd early on, with Olamide Shodipo bursting a superb through ball by Murray. However, the QPR loanee rather snatched at his shot, the ball flying well wide.
It was a bright start from the visitors, and Ben Stevenson was not far adrift with a delicate chip that floated just a foot over the bar, with keeper Ryan Allsop concerned.
Imps right-back Neal Eardley was booked for a late challenge on 16 minutes, and from the ensuing free-kick, Mikael Mandron headed over the bar from Stevenson’s delivery.
Lincoln’s first real chance fell to Harry Anderson, but he blasted high and wide from a good position in the 20th minute.
Striker Matt Green went closer with a low drive that was deflected inches wide of the far upright, on the half-hour mark, while Shodipo was booked for a challenge just outside the box as the Imps began to get on top.
The game rather drifted for the rest of the first half, but it burst into life with two goals inside the first 15 minutes of the second period.
Whitehouse dispatched a 55th minute penalty to put the Imps in front, only for substitute Senior to equalise just five minutes later.
Mandron spurned a good chance to put the U’s 2-1 up, on 73 minutes. Substitute Szmodics’ angled low drive was only parried by keeper Allsop, but Mandron blasted the rebound over the bar from point blank range.
The Imps came close to a goal on two occasions, in the 81st minute.
First, Walker made a good save to keep out Matt Green’s low shot, shepherding the ball to safety at the second attempt.
And then seconds later, substitute Palmer rattled the far upright with a wonderful strike, with Walker rooted to the spot.
The hosts were reduced to 10 men, when centre-half Bostwick was sent off for a professional foul on Mandron in the 83rd minute.
But they dug deep and came up with that last-gasp winner.
LINCOLN: Allsop, Eardley, Bostwick, Wharton (sub Waterfall, 74), Habergham, Woodyard, Frecklington, Whitehouse (sub Pett, 71), Anderson (sub Palmer, 46), Rhead, Green. Unused subs: Farman, Williams, Wilson, Stewart.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Jackson, Eastman, Prosser, Vincent-Young, Shodipo (sub Senior, 57), Comley (sub Ogedi-Uzokwe, 88), Stevenson, Murray (sub Szmodics, 70), Wright, Mandron. Unused subs: Barnes, Kent, Loft, Mandeville.
Referee: Darren Handley
Attendance: 9,211 (325 away fans)