Report: Colchester United 0 Ipswich Town 1 – Brett Pitman goal the difference

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy with Terry Connor at Colchester last night

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy with Terry Connor at Colchester last night

Brett Pitman scored the only goal of a forgettable pre-season match as Ipswich Town won at Essex neighbours Colchester United tonight.

Pitman nodded a long ball wide of on-rushing keeper Sam Walker and coolly rolled an angled shot into the unguarded net in the 39th minute.

The U’s – relegated to League Two at the end of last season – had posed the greater threat in the opening half, particularly down the flanks, and boss John McGreal will have not been displeased with how his new-look outfit are shaping up.

The second half contained a real shortage of goalscoring opportunities at both ends, with both managers making wholesale changes around the 70 minute mark.

Town laboured to a 2-1 win at Irish second-tier side Shelbourne and then lost 1-0 at League Two club Barnet. Mick McCarthy once again cut a hugely frustrated figure on the sidelines last night and berated his players on several occasions.

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Summer signing Adam Webster, fit again after an ankle injury, and striker Daryl Murphy, given an extended break following his exerts at the European Championships, were both named among the substitutes.

David McGoldrick, however, was again absent with his hip problem.

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U’s boss McGreal named five of his six senior summer signings in his starting XI, as well as trialist Lewis Kinsella – a 21-year-old left-back released by Aston Villa.

Matt Briggs and Tom Eastman missed out through injury, but keeper Walker made his first start at The Weston Homes Community Stadium in 12 months.

Town started on the front foot. There was some neat footwork from Andre Dozzell in the edge of the box, then moments later Pitman fired over from outside the area.

In the 15th minute, good link-up play down the left between Myles Kenlock and Cameron Stewart led to the former sending in a low cross, but Pitman and Freddie Sears got in each others’ way.

The U’s were getting a lot of joy down their flanks too. First, left-winger Brennan Dickenson breezed past Paul Digby before supplying a dangerous cross which somehow missed everyone in the box.

Then, on the opposite side, Drey Wright – a former Town youth teamer and son of Jermaine – skinned Kenlock before squaring the ball. This time, Johnstone fired a shot straight at keeper Dean Gerken.

When Digby chose to pass a backwards running ball to Gerken first time, with Dickenson charging him down, Mick McCarthy went ballistic. He raced out to the edge of his technical area and screamed ‘have a touch’ at the man who has been signed to bring some calmness on the ball at the back. It seemed a little harsh.

U’s skipper Luke Prosser went for the no-nonsense clearance into row z moments later, right in front of the dug-outs, and shot a smile at McCarthy. He received a nod of approval from the Town boss.

Ipswich’s next sight of goal didn’t arrive until the half hour mark when Digby glanced a Kevin Bru free-kick delivery wide. Not for the forst time this calendar year, their play in the final third lacked fluidity.

Colchester continued to pose a threat down the sides and Dickenson’s low delivery fizzed across the six-yard box, with the sliding Kurtis Guthrie so close to making a vital connection.

Moments later, ex-Blues man Owen Garvan rifled a long-range shot well wide.

It was Chambers who was next to suffer some of McCarthy’s touchline wrath when he failed to move the ball quickly.

In the next phase of play, Town took the lead. Digby’s raking pass over the top was inch-perfect, Pitman nodded the ball wide of keeper Walker as he rushed off his line and then calmly rolled an angled shot into the unguarded net.

Jonas Knudsen for Kenlock was the only change at half-time.

The second half was a complete non-event for the opening 15 minutes. Teddy Bishop replaced Dozzell and made an immediate impact, his driving run drawing a foul on the edge of the box. Stewart curled the resultant free-kick well over.

Bishop was again at the heart of a good move moments later, the resultant corner leading to a Tommy Smith header being blocked.

Both managers made wholesale changes around the 70 minute mark and that did little to help the flow of an already disjointed match.

COLCHESTER UTD (4-4-1-1): Walker (Bransgrove 72); Brindley (Vincent-Young 72), Kent (Elokobi 72), Prosser (Wynter 72), Kinsella (O’Donoghue 63); Wright (Sembi-Ferris 72), Garvan (Loft 69), Slater (Lapslie 69), Dickenson (Bonne 72); Guthrie (Porter 69); Johnstone (Szmodics 69).

IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Gerken; Chambers (Emmanuel 69), Digby (Webster 69), Smith (Berra 69), Kenlock (Knudsen 46); Dozzell (Bishop 58), Bru (Skuse 69), Douglas (Hyam 69), Stewart (McDonnell 69); Pitman (Murphy 69), Sears (McLoughlin 69).

Unused subs: Bialkowski, Malarczyk, Blanchfield, Morris, Patterson.

Attendance: 2,750 (1,237 away)

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