“There is no end to all of these hits” – rues Colchester United boss John McGreal

U's keeper Sam Walker looks to the floor as Chris Dagnall (not pictured) celebrates scoring his side

U's keeper Sam Walker looks to the floor as Chris Dagnall (not pictured) celebrates scoring his side's second goal in Crewe's 2-0 win on Saturday. Picture: RICHARD BLAXALL - Credit: Richard Blaxall / Pagepix

Colchester United boss, John McGreal, admitted that Sammie Szmodics’ early injury had an impact on a below-standard first-half display at Crewe on Saturday.

But McGreal, although disappointed by another home defeat, took heart from a much-improved second-half showing.

“No sooner that we get Sammie back fit, then something else happens,” rued McGreal, who later found out that Szmodics had broken his leg.

“Sammie going off certainly hindered us, with the form he has been in.

“So many injuries to key players, with seven or eight of the first XI out, has certainly not helped, but you just have to keep going, even though there is no end to all of these hits.

“We can deal with the injuries, because we can still field a team and still field enough substitutes, but it was disappointing overall.

“You look at the opportunities we had, and you wonder how we have not scored, especially in the second half, early on and late on in that second half.

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“But I can’t fault the boys for their effort in the second half – they gave the fans something to cheer about.

“If Rekeil’s (Pyke’s) chance goes in, then I think it would have had a good bearing on the result, because Crewe were getting edgy at only 1-0,” added McGreal, with reference to Pyke’s close-range header on 56 minutes which was blocked by keeper Ben Garratt.

The match survived two pitch inspections, and McGreal revealed that referee Graham Horwood was set to call off the game at 2pm.

“The game was called off at 2pm, but the next minute he (Horwood) has left it until 2.30pm. We just wanted him to make a decision,” explained McGreal.

“He gave it until 2.30, and he’s already made his decision before we even came out again, so it was a case of going straight back in to prepare.

“However, we are professional footballers so they were already prepped before. Even so, we did look slow to get out of the blocks.

“The referee admitted that their second goal should not have stood, and that he should have called back play for a free-kick for us.

“That was another backward step, but the lads kept going after the second goal, and even late on their keeper made two great saves in injury-time.”

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