Report: Colchester United 3 Ipswich Town 2

David McGoldrick puts Ipswich ahead from the penalty spot

David McGoldrick puts Ipswich ahead from the penalty spot - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Gavin Massey netted a last-minute winner as Colchester United beat their East Anglian neighbours Ipswich Town 3-2 in a friendly at The Weston Homes Community Stadium tonight.

The Championship visitors had twice taken the lead in the match, through goals from Kevin Bru and David McGoldrick (penalty), but were pegged back on both occasions as Alex Gilbey netted a fine brace for the League One hosts.

With the new Football League campaign less than a fortnight away, this was Town’s second defeat of pre-season following an earlier set-back against Fortuna Dusseldorf. They have conceded nine goals in five warm-up matches.

For Tony Humes’ U’s this was an encouraging display and result off the back of the recent 3-0 loss to Leyton Orient.

Town boss Mick McCarthy named two traillists in his starting XI.

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Former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Giles Coke, having played in the 0-0 draw at Peterborough last weekend, was given another chance to impress.

And Larsen Toure – a 31-year-old, French-born, Guinean international – lined on the right of midfield. The one-time Lille player came to Town’s attention as he was an ex team-mate of Bru’s at Levski Sofia in Bulgaria.

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The first half was typical pre-season fare, with very little to get supporters excited.

U’s left-back Kane Vincent-Young was booked for an over-enthusiastic lunge early on but, in general, there was no real edge to the action.

A vocal minority of Colchester fans booed Town striker Freddie Sears on his return to The Weston Homes Community Stadium, but the vast majority clapped the man who did so well for the club before a well-deserved move to the Championship back in January.

Bru saw a long-range shot held by keeper Elliot Parish midway through the half, but it was the hosts who would have the better chances in the opening period.

Dean Gerken – selected to start ahead of Bartosz Bialkowski – was quick off his line to save at the feet of Chris Porter.

Moments later it required a fine last-ditch intervention from Tommy Smith to deny Porter rolling the ball into an empty net after Gerken had parried George Muncur’s long-range strike.

Left-back Kane Vincent-Young,

Triallist Toure was subbed just after the half an hour mark and replaced by Dylan Connolly. The French-born winger was given a warm handshake by manager McCarthy. He’d got stuck in whenever possible, but it was hard to make any real judgement on his ability.

When Brett Pitman looped a header over, following Bru’s deep free-kick delivery, it seemed as though a forgettable opening half would end goalless.

But there was still time for Bru to break the deadlock in the closing seconds, smashing home a shot at the far post after Sears’ low pullback had gone behind Pitman in the box.

McCarthy made six changes to his team at the break, while the U’s returned to the field unchanged.

The fact that academy graduate Josh Emmanuel was brought on showed how much of an impact the powerful right-back has made in pre-season, the same being the case with new centre-back recruit Josh Yorwerth.

Ipswich had Daryl Murphy and McGoldrick on the pitch, but it was the hosts who levelled things up in the 55th minute – Gilbey sliding the ball under Gerken following Moncur’s superb driving run from midfield.

The goal did little to liven up the match, with Darren Ambrose’s speculative volley – which flew wide – a rare attempt on goal for either side.

Ipswich retook the lead in the 65th minute via McGoldrick’s converted penalty. It was awarded after Emmanuel’s cross was headed down by Murphy and McGoldrick’s powerful shot was blocked by the flailing arm of an unfortunate Alex Wynter in the area.

Town then came close to doubling their lead after producing by far the best move of the match. Ainsley Maitland-Niles produced a classy first-time pass into the channel, Ryan Fraser bent in a cross from the left and Murphy headed just over at the far post.

McCarthy made his 10th and final substitution not long afterwards, replacing Coke with Jay Tabb. The former once again put in a tidy and fuss-free display.

Ipswich appeared to be finishing the match the stronger and gave the away fans a couple of moments to get off their seats.

McGoldrick produced a fine piece of skill, dragging the ball in one fluid motion to beat his marker, while Teddy Bishop came up with a tricky bit of dribbling and shot that was kept out by Sam Walker.

It was Colchester who found the next goal though, Gilbey’s low shot from 20 yards out beating an unsighted Gerken to level the score.

And there was still time for the U’s to win it, Massey heading home on the goalline after Jack Curtis’ shot had looped up over Gerken.

See here for our action gallery from Colchester United 3 Ipswich Town 2

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