Penalty shoot-out woe for U’s at Cheltenham

Sammie Szmodics, who pulled a goal back to make it 2-1 at Cheltenham. The match ended 2-2, but the U

Sammie Szmodics, who pulled a goal back to make it 2-1 at Cheltenham. The match ended 2-2, but the U's lost a penalty shoot-out 6-5. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Cheltenham Town 2 Colchester United 2 (Cheltenham win 6-5 on pens)

Colchester United battled back from 2-0 down to force a penalty shoot-out, at Cheltenham Town tonight, but they lost that shoot-out 6-5 to bow out of the competition at the first hurdle for the eighth year in a row.

Goals from Sammie Szmodics and Luke Norris, on 79 and 80 minutes, gave the U’s late hope of reaching the second round of the EFL Cup for the first time since 2010.

However, despite Harry Pell, Szmodics, Frank Nouble, Frankie Kent and Brennan Dickenson all slotting home their penalties, the U’s lost 6-5 in sudden-death, with Norris and Courtney Senior (the last one) missing their spot kicks.

The U’s were trailing after just 47 seconds, as Ryan Broom gave the Robins the perfect start. Defender Kent’s error was capitalised on by Broom, who swept home past keeper Dillon Barnes.

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It was the first goal that the U’s had conceded this season, following clean-sheets in League Two at Notts County (0-0) and against Port Vale (2-0 home win).

However, the visitors recovered from this early shock and forced the pace, with both Pell, playing against his former club, and Senior, who scored the U’s first goal of the 2018-19 campaign against Port Vale, peppering the target before the half-hour.

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Norris, another enjoying his first start of the campaign (and his debut for the U’s) was not far adrift with an acrobatic shot which drifted just wide before the hour mark, but Cheltenham went 2-0 up in the 72nd minute when keeper Barnes fouled Maddox in the box, enabling Thomas to convert the ensuing penalty.

The U’s came storming back to force penalties with two late goals. Szmodics charged down a clearance to halve the deficit in the 79th minute, lifting the ball over keeper Scott Flinders.

And just a minute later Norris smashed home a glorious equaliser from long range.

But the U’s bowed out of a penalty shoot-out.

COLCHESTER: A Barnes, Jackson, Eastman, Kent, Dickenson, Comley, Senior, Pell, Collins (sub Szmodics 67), Mandron (sub Nouble 67), Norris.

Attendance: 1,179 (133 away)

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