U21s Beat Colchester
Monday, 25th Feb 2013 21:11
Frank Nouble netted a hat-trick and Andy Drury lashed in a stunning volley as Town's U21s beat Colchester 4-3 at a freezing Portman Road. The Blues ought to have been home and dry before a U's revival after the break which brought the scoreline back to 3-3.
Town named two trialists from the Kettering-based Tresham Academy in their starting line-up, Ade Yuseff and Mawete Nkunga, while Victor Zapata-Caicedo, from Tottenham’s youth set-up, who played for the U18s on Saturday, was on the bench.
Nkunga began the game at centre-half alongside Patrick Kisnorbo, while Yuseff was up front with Frank Nouble. The trialist duo previously played in a behind closed doors game last Tuesday, along with two other players from Tresham, when they did enough to have been asked back.
Nouble shot wide for the Blues in the fourth minute, then not long after the U’s had their first chance when Alex Gilbey headed a corner over.
On seven, trialist Yuseff pressured visiting keeper Shaun Phillips into dropping the ball but couldn’t get in position to take a shot at goal.
The Blues ought to have gone in front in the 10th minute when right-back Elliott Hewitt cut the ball back from the right to Josh Carson, whose miscued strike fell to Jay Emmanuel-Thomas who shot just over the bar when he probably should have scored.
On 17 Andy Drury played in Yuseff on the right of the area but keeper Phillips blocked. From Carson’s short corner, the Blues went in front. Skipper Byron Lawrence’s poor cross went very deep from where it was headed down by Tyrone Mings. Drury caught it perfectly on the volley and sent it into corner of net from 25 yards.
The Blues dominated after the goal and Lawrence went within a whisker of making it 2-0 from another short corner but his 20-yard strike was deflected over by Gilbey.
Nouble went even closer in the 27th minute when he twisted and turned on the edge of the box before hitting a shot which cannoned off the underside of the bar but not over the line.
It wasn’t all Town though, and soon after Drey Wright, son of ex-Blue Jermaine, who was watching the game, headed just past Scott Loach’s right post.
But it was the home side who were looking more likely to score and soon after the half hour mark Carson shot narrowly wide, and then Phillips did well to save an Emmanuel-Thomas header, a defender clearing the loose ball ahead of Kisnorbo.
On 38 Gilbey shot over the bar for the visitors, then Yuseff got in Drury’s way as they both went for Emmanuel-Thomas’s ball in from the right, the former Luton man having been the better placed. Moments later, Nouble shot low to Phillips’s right.
As the half moved into its final five minutes, Freddie Ladapo shot well over for the U’s, who were threatening on occasion, despite the Blues having most of the best chances.
Emmanuel-Thomas lashed a freekick into the upper tier of the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand after the lively Yuseff had been fouled, then the former Arsenal man played a clever pass into the path of Carson as he made a run forward but the Northern Irish international’s shot failed to beat Phillips.
The Blues were good for their lead at the break and might even have been further ahead having created a number of chances with the U’s also having had a couple of opportunities, although mainly from set pieces.
Striker Yuseff, similar in style and stature to former Blue Dean McDonald, had been the more impressive of the two trialists, while Drury’s goal was worthy of a rather bigger stage.
Yuseff scuffed an early second-half effort through to Phillips and it took only five minutes of the second half for Town to make it 2-0. Kisnorbo played a long ball forward and Nouble held off Kenzer Lee, cut inside the defender and confidently beat Phillips.
Soon after, Jack Compton made a strong run in from the Colchester right but Loach saved his low shot. Nkunga put the ball out and from the corner U’s skipper Kemi Izzet shot well over.
The visitors pulled a goal back in the 54th minute when Jordan Sanderson dispossessed Lawrence midway inside the Town half and hit a low shot which beat Loach.
Town restored their two-goal lead right on the hour when Drury’s shot fell to Nouble inside the area and the former Wolves man took a touch before netting his second of the game.
The U’s made it 3-2 in the 62nd minute when a somewhat harshly awarded freekick on the right was squared to Gilbey, whose strike beat Loach via a deflection off Nouble.
The visitors were by now in the ascendant and moments later Kisnorbo picked up the game’s first booking for a rash challenge on Sanderson as he broke down the right.
Yuseff made way for Victor Zapata-Caicedo on 66, the striker having made less of an impact after the break. Tottenham man Zapata-Caicedo, who played for the U18s at the weekend, took up a wide left role.
The U’s got back on terms on 70 with a goal to match Drury’s earlier strike. Compton brought the ball forward midway inside the Blues half before unleashing a 30-yard strike which flew past Loach.
Carson picked up a booking for a foul then on 79 Drury found Nouble in space on the left and the striker lashed home his third of the evening to make it 4-3 to Mark Kennedy’s men.
Nouble had the ball in the net again two minutes from the end of normal time but having been offside when Lawrence played him in. A minute later, Ladapo shot across the face and just wide for the U’s.
Ladapo scraped a shot wide in injury time but Town weren’t to be denied a victory which really ought to have been more comfortable.
Having been much the better side in the first half and ahead 2-0 shortly after the break, the Blues handed the impetus to the visitors in the second half via poor defending.
The watching Mick McCarthy and Terry Connor will have been less than pleased with the way the U’s were allowed to get back on terms, but will have been more impressed to see Town get back on top and eventually grab a winner.
Hat-trick hero Nouble grew in confidence as the game wore on and as his goals went in, while Drury will be pleased with his strike and trialist Yuseff may have done enough to warrant further investigation.
U21s: Loach, Hewitt, Kisnorbo, Nkunga, Mings, Emmanuel-Thomas, Drury, Yuseff (Zapata-Caicedo 66), Carson, Lawrence, Nouble. Unused: Crowe, Hammond, Thorsteinsson, Timlin.
Colchester: Phillips, Buck, Lee, Heath, Olufemi, Gilbey, Wright, Sanderson, Izzet (Hunt 67), Ladapo, Compton (Simmons 76). Unused: O’Donaghue, McLaugh, Nuachuku.
Photo: Action Images
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