Service into the box needs to improve – so says Colchester United striker Denny Johnstone

Denny Johnstone, left, the U's front-man

Denny Johnstone, left, the U's front-man - Credit: Richard Blaxall

Colchester United front-runner, Denny Johnstone, is adamant that he and strike-force partner Chris Porter will start firing in the goals together, as soon as the service into the penalty area improves.

The U’s have not won in their last eight league matches, a miserable run of four draws and four defeats seeing them slide to within just two points of the League Two drop zone.

Johnstone himself has scored just once in 16 senior appearances, since his summer move from Birmingham City on a two-year contract.

The 21-year-old Scotsman netted on his home debut, in a 2-0 win over Cambridge on the second weekend of the season, but has drawn a blank since then, including last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at league leaders Plymouth, where he played alongside Porter in a two-man attack.

“We had half-chances against Plymouth, and I feel that we just need to improve on our deliveries from wide areas,” insisted Johnstone.

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“With the two of us being in there, it is a great opportunity to get goals. Chris and I are working hard on our relationship in training and on our movements, so the sooner that the service gets better, the sooner we will score the goals.”

Johnstone feels that the U’s have to improve at both ends of the pitch, and develop a “nastier” streak.

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“I think we need to be a bit nastier to push us over the line,” continued Johnstone. “That’s something for us to work on, at both ends of the pitch.

“As a squad, we need to stop gifting squads soft goals, especially as no one is gifting us any goals at this present-time. We’re having to work really hard to score every goal we have had.

“Little mistakes are costing us. If we want to do well in this league, then we must cut out the mistakes. We must be really, really solid.

“It’s just fine margins that we’re talking about, to get us over the line. As soon as we get that first win, I’m sure we will go on a run and shoot up the table.”

The U’s lost to a freak goal by Ryan Donaldson last Saturday, Luke Prosser’s poor back pass ending with keeper Sam Walker’s clearance hitting the Plymouth substitute and looping into an empty net – that winner arrived just 60 seconds after a lengthy break of 11 minutes for a neck injury to referee Kevin Johnson.

Johnstone said: “After the break, it was the same for both teams. All the boys were getting around each other and telling each other to concentrate and to keep going. Unfortunately, it never quite worked out.”

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