Stirring Stoke display sinks U's hopes

COLCHESTER United's play-off hopes were dashed by a second-half onslaught from Stoke City in a bad-tempered Championship encounter at the Britannia Stadium this afternoon.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United's play-off hopes were dashed by a second-half onslaught from Stoke City in a bad-tempered Championship encounter at the Britannia Stadium this afternoon.

It was looking so promising for the U's when ex-Stoke favourite Chris Iwelumo converted a 38th minute penalty, to give the visitors a half-time lead.

But Stoke rallied strongly after the break, and three goals inside a nine-minute spell from Darel Russell, Mamady Sidibe and Danny Higginbotham turned this game on its head. The goals arrived in the 53rd, 57th and 62nd minutes.


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Colchester's cause was not helped by Chris Barker's dismissal in the 78th minute, following an off-the-ball clash with Lee Hendrie. In all, there were eight bookings and one red card.

The U's needed at least a draw from this fixture to stand a chance of sneaking into the play-offs on the final day of the season.

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It wasn't to be, but they gave it a terrific go. Stoke, by contrast, are very much in the play-off shake-up moving into next Sunday's final round of matches.

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