U's settle for a point
COLCHESTER United stopped their defensive rot at Gillingham but had to be content with a point.Having conceded 12 goals in their previous two games, the good news for the U's was that they returned to their solid best at the back.
Gillingham 0 Colchester United 0
COLCHESTER United stopped their defensive rot at Gillingham but had to be content with a point.
Having conceded 12 goals in their previous two games, the good news for the U's was that they returned to their solid best at the back.
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However, playing against a Gillingham side low on confidence themselves, Aidy Boothroyd's side worryingly created very little in the way of their own goal scoring chances.
With the U's coming into this match off the back of a 5-0 defeat to Norwich and Gillingham having lost to League Two side Accrington Stanley in a midweek it made for a nervy encounter.
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Colchester keeper Ben Williams made a fine double stop in the 65th minute to keep his side in front, while substitute Kevin Lisbie headed onto the bar with five minutes to go, but there were very few other goal scoring chances of note.
Boothroyd made four changes to the side which collapsed so spectacularly last week. Bristol City loanee Christian Ribeiro - having only met his team mates yesterday - replaced John White at right-back, while Lisbie was dropped for Kayode Odejayi.
Paul Reid, available again following a groin operation, replaced Danny Batth in defence, while John-Joe O'Toole, available again after suspension, replaced David Fox in midfield.
Gillingham boss Mark Stimson went one further and made five changes to his side following their midweek FA Cup exit to League Two side Accrington Stanley. He handed debuts to all three of the loan signings he made during the week in the form of striker Renee Howe (Peterborough), winger Tristan Plummer (Bristol City) and defender Darren Dennehy (Cardiff).
The Gills went close early on when Magnus Okuonghae let a ball bounce over him, allowing striker Simeon Jackson to nip in a lob narrowly wide.
Eager debutant Howe got in the way of Mark Bentley to prevent the midfielder heading in at the back post after 24 minutes, while Colchester were limited to half chances only in the opening 45 minutes.
John-Joe O'Toole saw a speculative long-range effort turned around the post immediately after the break, but Gillingham then went on to enjoy the better of the second period.
Williams made his superb double save not long after the hour and, although Lisbie headed against the bar late on, it would have been an undeserved victory for the visitors.