Nothing memorable at the Memorial

Bristol Rovers 0 Colchester United 0COLCHESTER United stretched their recent good run to just one defeat in 10 league matches, although this was a real bore draw at the Memorial Stadium.

Carl Marston

Bristol Rovers 0 Colchester United 0

COLCHESTER United stretched their recent good run to just one defeat in 10 league matches, although this was a real bore draw at the Memorial Stadium.

Neither side really looked like scoring throughout a dour encounter, but the U's looked solid in defence and will be happy to pick up another useful point on the road.

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The U's did have a goal ruled out for offside just before half-time. Scott Vernon bundled home Dean Hammond's low cross from the right flank, only for the assistant referee to raise his flag.

But neither keeper actually had a serious save to make until the final 10 minutes. Rovers keeper Steve Phillips did well to block Mark Yeates' shot from point blank range in the 81st minute, while Jimmy Walker had virtually nothing to do except for punching away a late corner.

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Steven Gillespie was making only his sixth league start since last summer's move from Cheltenham, with fellow striker Vernon dropping to the bench.

But Gillespie's afternoon was soon cut short. In fact, he was to hobble off injured after just six minutes, without even touching the ball! That meant substitute Vernon was on the pitch much quicker than expected.

Johnnie Jackson was the one absentee with a chest injury, but that enabled Marc Tierney to return at left-back after missing last weekend's 3-1 win over Cheltenham due to a tweaked hamstring.

Rovers were fresh from an away win at Leyton Orient, and they were close to taking the lead after just 24 seconds against the U's. Leading scorer Rickie Lambert flicked on for strike-force partner Joe Kuffour, who sliced his shot into the side-netting from a good position.

Lambert was soon proving a handful for his designated marker, Paul Reid. That was the case from a 16th minute corner, where Lambert nipped in front of defender Reid to meet Chris Lines' cross with a powerful header. Fortunately, the ball flashed wide of Jimmy Walker's near post.

Rovers certainly enjoyed the better of the first quarter of the game, and midfielder Lines was not far off target with a 20-yard shot that dipped inches over the bar and onto the top of the net.

United finally mounted an attack on 23 minutes. Clive Platt won their first corner, from which Reid's goal-bound header was punched away by Phillips. It was a nervous piece of goalkeeping from the Welshman.

Chances then dried up for both teams until an eager Yeates volleyed wide from long range, following Izzet's chest-down, in the 34th minute.

There was a bizarre moment when substitute Anthony Wordsworth was booked in the 40th minute, without even being on the pitch! Wordsworth was warming up near the corner flag while Rovers skipper Stuart Campbell took a corner. The unused substitute was flashed the yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

The U's had a goal ruled out for offside on 44 minutes. Vernon bundled home Dean Hammond's cross from six yards out, only for his celebrations to be cut short by an assistant referee's flag.

Half-time: Bristol Rovers 0 Colchester United 0

The visitors started the second period brightly. Defender Alan Maybury smashed a 30-yard shot wide of target, while Reid was off balance when meeting Yeates' corner with a header that again drifted wide.

However, neither keeper had been forced into a serious save inside the first hour. To try and rectify that, U's boss Lambert introduced substitute Lewis Gobern for David Perkins in the 65th minute.

Rovers began to exert some pressure. Striker Lambert shrugged off Maybury and whipped over a cross which was just a fraction too strong for the onrushing Craig Hinton. The ball drifted wide of the far post.

The first real save from either keeper arrived as late as the 81st minute. Yeates latched onto Izzet's through ball, but saw his low shot squeezed out by Phillips, who blocked at point blank range.

Entertainment was certainly at a premium!

Full-time: Bristol Rovers 0 Colchester United 0


BRISTOL ROVERS: Phillips 6, Green 7, HINTON 7, Elliott 7, Lescott 7, Disley 6 (sub Pipe, 67), Lines 7, Campbell 7, Hughes 6 (sub Jacobson, 73), Kuffour 6, Lambert 7. Unused subs: Duffy, Anthony, Hunt.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Walker 7, Maybury 7, Baldwin 7, Reid 7, TIERNEY 7, Perkins 6 (sub Gobern, 65), Izzet 7 (sub White, 90+1), Hammond 7, Yeates 6, Gillespie - (sub Vernon, 6), Platt 6. Unused subs: Wordsworth, Cousins.

Referee: Mr Oliver Langford (West Midlands)

Attendance: 6,634

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