U’s Reserves lose but still clinch title

Colchester United Reserves 1 Luton Town Reserves 2

COLCHESTER United Reserves clinched the Football Combination North Section title, despite suffering defeat at the hands of Luton Town this afternoon.

The U’s were beaten by a brace from Hatters striker Dan Walker, who scored in each half.

Ben Coker smashed home a glorious shot in the 86th minute to halve the deficit, and this confirmed the U’s title success.

The result left Colchester level on points with Southend United at the top of the table, after all eight fixtures.

However, the U’s had a slightly better goal difference, due to Coker’s late goal, although they would have topped the league anyway because they had also scored more goals than the Shrimpers

The U’s best chance of the first half-hour fell to Drey Wright, who pulled his shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box.

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But it was the Hatters who took the lead, thanks to a clinical finish from Walker in the 36th minute. Front-runner Walker burst onto Alasan Ann’s pass and beat keeper Shaun Phillips with an angled drive from 15 yards out.

Livewire Walker was causing a nuisance of himself again, on the stroke of half-time, although his goalbound shot was blocked by Tom Aldred at point blank range.

However, Luton doubled their lead within 48 seconds of the start of the second period. Walker’s first effort was charged down, but he slammed home the rebound from just outside the six-yard box.

The U’s struggled to make any headway. Coker rifled a free-kick into the defensive wall on 65 minutes, and nine minutes later he set up Freddie Ladapo following a good run. Ladapo’s shot whistled wide.

Senior striker Ashley Vincent nearly halved the deficit in the 78th minute, but he could not get enough power behind his close-range toe-poke from Jake Young’s low cross.

However, a ferocious low shot by Coker, struck from the left edge of the penalty area, pulled a goal back for the U’s with four minute remaining.

The U’s searched for a late equaliser, and Ladapo headed over from a corner in stoppage time.

U’s squad: Phillips, Young (sub Nwachuko, 90+1), Aldred, Heath, Bender (sub Melaugh, 43), Vincent, Hamilton, Sanderson, Coker, Wright (sub Olufemi, 82), Ladapo. Unused subs: Mafuta, Simmons.

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