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Morris on Target But U23s Defeated By Colchester
Monday, 9th Jan 2017 17:18

Town’s U23s were defeated 3-2 by Colchester United in their first game of 2017 at a very wet Playford Road this afternoon with all the goals coming in the first half. The U’s were two in front before Adam McDonnell’s freekick went in off visitors’ keeper Rhys Williams, then Ben Morris smashed in an equaliser but the Essex side clinched the points just before half-time.

With rain starting to fall heavily as it would for the whole match, the U’s began the game strongly and powerful number nine Femi Akinwande threatened in the 12th minute, breaking into the area on the left and hitting a shot which Blues keeper Nick Hayes did well to palm away from under his bar.

But Colchester took the lead three minutes later when striker Tommy O’Sullivan, who is on trial from Cardiff City, curled a brilliant freekick in off the underside of the bar.

The visitors doubled their lead nine minutes later when Stephen Dooley, another trialist who is currently with Cork City, cut the ball back from the right and Akinwande slammed a shot across Hayes and into the net.

The dangerous O’Sullivan, a Wales U21s team-mate of Blues keeper Michael Crowe, who is pencilled in for a return to action next week having been out of action since October with an ankle injury, went close to making it 3-0 two minutes later but Hayes did well to tip his shot over.

Town made little impression until the 28th minute when Adam McDonnell curled a freekick which U’s keeper Williams tipped onto his post, but the ball cannoned over the line off his back. While McDonnell claimed it, it will almost certainly go down as an own goal.

Akinwande twice went within a whisker of restoring his side’s two-goal advantage in the 31st minute having escaped behind the Town defence, which included Paul Digby playing his first game after a spell out with a knee injury.

Hayes did well to turn the former Bishop Stortford loanee’s initial effort onto the post, then the striker's rebound hit the bar. Digby blocked Charlie Edge’s subsequent shot from just inside the box.

Two minutes later Akinwande saw another strike deflect over, then Hayes saved from Edge.

The Blues restored parity - which on the balance of the game and certainly the chances they’d hardly deserved - in the 36th minute when Shane McLoughlin’s excellent pass found Morris on the left. The 17-year-old striker cut in and smashed a low shot past Williams.

On 40 McLoughlin turned a Monty Patterson cross from the right to keeper Williams as Town enjoyed their best spell of the half, then George Fowler headed over from a corner.

But two minutes before the half-time whistle the U’s regained the lead, Louis Dunne, son of former Colchester boss Joe Dunne, beating Hayes from 10 yards after a loose ball was stabbed to him inside the area, the Blues having been unable to clear.

The visitors, who withdrew the impressive O’Sullivan at the break, began the second half on top but on 54 Conor McKendry curled a shot which Williams claimed. Soon after, the Northern Irishman was swapped for Australian striker Ben Folami.

Dunne saw a 68th minute shot deflect wide, then from the resultant corner the ball fell to trialist Dooley, but the Irishman hit his shot past the post when he should have hit the target.

A further Colchester goal was looking more likely than a Town equaliser but on 75 Blues right-back Luke Woolfenden reached a freekick sent deep to the far post but without testing Williams with his header.

Town should have been awarded a penalty on 78 when McLoughlin was clumsily bundled over in the area but referee Ian Fissenden waved away the Irish striker’s protests, despite being well-placed. A minute later James Blanchfield was booked for a foul.

With eight minutes remaining Digby headed over from a corner as Town began to threaten more regularly.

But after Morris had twice shot wide, the second having been found by an excellent Patterson pass, time ran out.

Colchester deserved their win having made an impressive start which warranted their two-goal lead. The Blues showed spirit as they got back on terms but having reclaimed their advantage just before the break the U’s were on top for much of a less enthralling second half.

Keeper Hayes did well in conditions which were difficult for goalkeepers, while Morris took his total to seven for the U23s this season with another well-taken goal, although may feel he should have done better with his second chance towards the end.

Manager Mick McCarthy was among those watching the game, along with his assistant Terry Connor, while a large contingent from Colchester included their boss John McGreal, director of football Tony Humes, another ex-Town defender Wayne Brown, who is the U’s U23s coach, Steve McCall, their chief scout, and former Blues academy coach Richard Hall, who now works in the Essex side’s youth set-up, all made the trip to Playford Road.

Meanwhile, midfielder Aldershot have confirmed that 19-year-old Blues midfielder Kundai Benyu's loan with the Vanarama National League side has been extended until Saturday 4th February.

U23s: Hayes, Woolfenden, Webber, McDonnell, Fowler (c), Digby, Patterson, Blanchfield, Morris, McLoughlin, McKendry (Folami 67). Unused: Salaudeen, Wright, Robinson.

Danny Baker Live! Good Time Charlie's Back. Ipswich Regent Theatre, Ipswich, Thursday 10th May 2018 at 19:30. Get your tickets before they sell out.

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Mark added 17:49 - Jan 9
Another thing to add to the list of bad news coming out of Ipswich. How can it be that with Marcus Evans' focus on investing so much money in the academy (of which I am glad) that the U23s manage to lose to Colchester, allowing them to go 4 points ahead of us in the table?! It's not as though our youngsters have been playing that much in the first team this season, odd appearances from Dozzell, Emmanuel and Kenlock aside.

wherescounago added 18:20 - Jan 9
Any chance of John McGreall being our next Manager?

Cageyblue added 18:55 - Jan 9
This is good preparation for the losing and don't give a shoot mentality which is prevalent at the club these days.

brittaniaman added 19:42 - Jan 9
Christ even the 23s are losing at home now !!!!1

PJewellisaGod added 23:03 - Jan 9
Akinwande looks like a great player, true class performance. O'Sullivan caused loads of problems and Dooley should have scored twice. Lucky to have only lost 3-2.

midastouch added 00:27 - Jan 10
Can't we poach / tempt Akinwande to travel 20 miles up the road?

battyblue added 04:25 - Jan 10
Seems that Colchester has more about them than us of late,what are we like now!

midastouch added 08:55 - Jan 10
And from the match report sounds like Tommy O’Sullivan might be worth keeping tabs on. Cardiff U23s have been very strong this season and they turned us over easily at our place 0-3 so they may well have some other talent worth investigating. The question is should we sign any such young talent, would they ever get given a fair chance in the first team, or would they just get the very occasional run out such as when one of Mick's first team faves is injured or suspended?
I also watched some England U21 highlights recently and Cauley Woodrow surprised me, he looked a lot better than I expected. If we could get him in for a reasonable fee he might prove a good value buy. I was initially underwhelmed when I heard we were being linked with him as I'd never heard of him. But having checked him out I'm having second thoughts. But regardless, that's all gone rather quiet as well I've noticed!

TotalBlue added 10:27 - Jan 10
Mark, The Academy produces players to under 18 at the oldest. It will be a few years before we see the benefit of this investment but from what I have heard from people we have several very capable under 16s coming through

Seasider added 14:27 - Jan 10
Oh dear,beaten at home by a League two reserve outfit ,is there nothing that can give us hope for the future?

Colchester,seem to have more old ITFC players coaching etc than ITFC !

I know that McCarthy, shortly after taking over, got rid of Sean McCarthy,David Hamilton and Mark Seagraves from backroom staff to bring in his mates Ian(Taff)Evans and Dave Bowman;demoting Steve McCall,who was Chief Scout here at the time,and think he later became Chief Scout for Col U in the summer of 2014.Didn't know about one or two of the others.

I have yet to be convinced that the scouting,like the football,has been any better since the Yorkshireman arrived in a blaze of optimism(although not from me) on Nov 1st 2012.

The number of players the club has brought in ,on a permanent basis, that have been successful,can be counted easily on one hand,bearing in mind that Cresswell,Murphy and Chambers were already here;whereas some,if not all toes would be needed to count the failures.Most of whom have now departed,although Coke Best and Douglas still remain.

The number from the Emerald Isle who have been signed(including young players)must be in double figures;and I cant think of one who has made the grade?

Like a lot of things at Portman Road,the scouting staff wont be changed whilst this man remains

jrobot added 08:30 - Jan 11
McCarthy and his "mates" are taking this club into the stone age. We need to get people like McGreal, Humes, wood, hall and the legend Steve McCall back at this club. People who care about the club and its future.

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