U’s play-off hopes finally extinguished

Colchester United 1 Tranmere Rovers 1

COLCHESTER United’s fading play-off hopes were finally extinguished this afternoon with an uninspiring draw against relegation-threatened Tranmere Rovers.

The U’s stormed into an early lead when Anthony Wordsworth expertly volleyed home from outside the area in the fourth minute.

However, for the second weekend running, the lead was short-lived as just two minutes’ later Tranmere equalised when Ian Thomas-Moore smashed home from close range after keeper Ben Williams had parried Joss Labadie’s fierce long-range effort.

Labadie was then lucky to remain on the pitch after he shoved his head aggressively into the ribs of Kevin Lisbie late on in the first half.

A scrappy spectacle ensued for the remainder of the match, with much of the play confined to the midfield third and neither side creating much in the way of genuine goalscoring opportunities.

Colchester’s misery was compounded in stoppage time when David Prutton picked up a second yellow card for dissent and was given his marching orders.

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Indeed, it could have been worse in the dying moments if keeper Williams hadn’t made a super save to deny Thomas-Moore.

The draw – combined with Huddersfield’s comfortable win at Stockport – means it is now mathematically impossible for Colchester to finish in the top six.

And with Southampton beating Carlisle United, the U’s have now dropped to eighth in the table.

Gallingly, Aidy Boothroyd’s side must now travel to The Galpharm next weekend knowing that it is impossible to catch the sixth-place Yorkshire side.

- Full match report and reaction in Monday’s EADT.

Colchester: Ben Williams 6; John White 6, Marc Tierney 6, Magnus Okuonghae (cpt) 6, Paul Reid 6; Ashley Vincent 6 (Ian Henderson 34 - 6), Anthony Wordsworth 6, David Prutton 6, Kemi Izzet 6 (Simon Hackney 61 - 6); Kevin Lisbie 6, Steven Gillespie 6 (Kayode Odejayi 76 - 6).

Unused Subs: Mark Cousins, Matt Heath, Clive Platt, David Fox.

Booked: Prutton (41), Lisbie (45), Gillespie (53).

Tranmere: Peter Gulacsi 6; Shaleum Logan 7, Zoumana Bakayogo 6, Marlon Broomes 6, Ian Goodison 6; Ash Taylor 6, John Welsh 6, Joss Labadie 6; Bas Savage 6, Craig Curran 6 (Andy Robinson 68), Ian Thomas-Moore 6.

Unused Subs: Andy Coughlin, Terry Gornell, Kithson Bain, Charlie Barnett, Gareth Edds, Chris McCready.

Booked: Curran (26), Labadie (45).

U’s Man-of-the-Match: Paul Reid.

Attendance: 4,353.

Referee: Mr P Crossley.

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