Michael Rose nets late equaliser to deny his old club Colchester United an away win
Morecambe 1 Colchester United 1
Colchester United old boy Michael Rose denied Colchester United what would have been a first away win of 2017, with a late equaliser from the penalty spot at the Globe Arena this afternoon.
For a long time it looked as though Richard Brindley was going to be the unlikely match-winner for the U’s, to give the Essex club further impetus to their League Two play-off push.
Following on from a good home draw against already-promoted Doncaster Rovers on Easter Monday, the U’s were heading for a first away win since a 4-2 success at Stevenage on New Year’s Eve, until Rose swept home an 87th minute penalty.
Substitute Alex Wynter upended Antony Evans in the box for a clear-cut penalty, and Rose sent Sam Walker the wrong way with a cool spot kick.
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The U’s opening goal had arrived in the 22nd minute.
Tarique Fosu was fouled outside the box by centre-half Alex Whitmore, and up stepped Brindley to curl a delightful free-kick over the defensive wall and into the top corner of the net.
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It was a fantastic strike by Brindley, who finally celebrated his first goal of the season in his 40th appearance, and only his second-ever goal for the U’s.
In fact, it was the right wing-back’s first goal for more than a year, since a late effort in the 4-1 win over Doncaster on March 25, 2016.
It was a bright start from the U’s, and they almost took the lead inside the first two minutes when Fosu’s shot beat keeper Danijel Nizic, only to be cleared off the goal-line by skipper Dean Winnard.
Fosu nearly scored from the ensuing corner as well, his shot at the far post being kept out by keeper Nizic’s legs.
Morecambe had effectively sealed their League Two status on Good Friday, by springing a surprise at play-off chasing Stevenage – their 1-0 win ended a run of nine games without a victory – and they began to have some joy in attack around the 10-minute mark against the U’s.
Sam Walker smothered an angled low drive from Aaron Wildig, down at his near post, while leading scorer Paul Mullin blasted over the top from a promising position, following Kevin Ellison’s teasing cross.
The Shrimps had a goal ruled out for offside in the 15th minute. A long throw into the danger zone caused mayhem in the U’s six-yard box, with Ellison steering home the loose ball from a matter of a few feet out.
The goal initially looked as though it was going to stand, with home players in full celebration, before their joy was cut short by an assistant referee’s offside flag.
Walker made an excellent save to keep the score goalless on 20 minutes. He tipped Mullin’s rising shot over his bar, as the visitors continued to soak up some pressure.
But just two minutes later and the U’s were ahead, thanks to Brindley’s wonderful free-kick into the top corner of the net.
The visitors had appeals for a penalty turned down in the 26th minute. Fosu appeared to be fouled in the box by Winnard, but instead referee Seb Stockbridge opted to book the Reading loanee instead. It looked like a harsh decision.
Chances then dried up until just before the break, when Brindley threatened with another well-struck free-kick. This time Nizic caught the ball beneath his bar.
Into the second half and Wright had a first-time shot deflected over the bar for a corner, after being teed up by strike-force Chris Porter on 49 minutes.
It was becoming a very scrappy game, as illustrated by home keeper Nizic dropping the ball at the feet of Fosu, following Sean Murray’s 70th minute corner into the six-yard box. Unfortunately, Fosu lifted his effort over the bar.
At the other end, defender Alex Kenyon fired a ferocious shot into the side-netting, with many home fans being fooled into thinking that the ball had nestled in the back of the net.
However, Shrimps supporters were celebrating an equaliser with three minutes remaining, thanks to Rose’ penalty.
MORECAMBE: Nizic, Winnard, Whitmore, McGowan, Fleming, Duckworth, Kenyon (sub Murphy, 82), Rose, Wildig (sub Evans, 46), Ellison (sub Turner, 78), Mullin. Unused subs: Maher, Wakefuield, Molyneux, Conlan.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Eastman, James, Elokobi, Brindley, Loft (sub Wynter, 76), Murray, Dickenson, Fosu (sub O’Sullivan, 82), Porter, Drey Wright (sub Pyke, 90). Unused subs: Brill, Briggs, Kinsella, Diaz Wright.
Referee: Seb Stockbridge (Tyne)