Football League Trophy news from Wednesday, October 5, 2016
U's miserable run in Football League Trophy continues as they lose at home to Southampton under-23s COLCHESTER United's miserable run in the Football League Trophy continued tonight as they were beaten 2-1 by Southampton under-23s at the Weston Homes Community Stadium. It means they have not won in the much-maligned competition – rebranded the Checkatrade Trophy this season – since 2008. And after losing both their opening matches in the contest – they were also beaten at Crawley Town in late-August - it means they can no longer progress out of Group E South. While there were positive displays from their young team, this was a night that will not live long in the memory. The paltry crowd of just 791 showed the lack of appetite for the contest. It was the lowest-ever for a first-team fixture at the Community Stadium - far less than the 1,401 that saw another Football League Trophy tie against Gillingham in October 2014. There were some bright individual displays on the night but, ultimately, the hosts were undone by goals at the very start of both halves. Sam McQueen headed Southampton in front and although Dion Sembie-Ferris levelled with an angled finish – his first goal at senior level - Olufela Olomola restored the Saints advantage with a powerful finish on 51 minutes. Colchester got off to the worst possible start, conceding after just eight minutes. Thomas O’Connor whipped in a corner and former Southend United loanee McQueen nodded home at the near post, beyond keeper James Bransgrove.
The U’s responded positively and Denny Johnstone should have done better from Drey Wright’s cross. Instead, his weak effort went straight into keeper Harry Lewis’ arms. Craig Slater then fired over from distance but the U’s were soon back on level terms, thanks to a cool finish from Sembie-Ferris. Sammie Szmodics rolled the ball into his path after winning possession and, from a position wide on the left, Sembie-Ferris slotted across goal and beyond Lewis. Colchester were now full of confidence and Johnstone saw a header flash wide, before Slater fired wide of the left-hand post after combining with Glen Kamara. The U’s thought they had scored again just before half-time but Johnstone’s effort was disallowed for a foul on Lewis. As in the first half, John McGreal’s men made a poor start to the second period and soon found themselves behind again. Josh Sims crossed from the right and Olomola produced a smart finish, firing a rising shot beyond Bransgrove. Colchester refused to wave the white flag and substitute Tariq Issa – having just just tried his luck with a deflected effort - had their best chance, only to see his low drive pushed away by the diving Lewis. At the other end, Bransgrove made an equally impressive stop to deny Tyreke Johnson. The U’s ran out of time to snatch a leveller and their last group game is at home to Charlton Athletic on November 8.
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