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17 October 2017 Venue Rodney Parade Attendance

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Colchester United next up at Rodney Parade

16 October 2017

Colchester United will head to Rodney Parade intent on spoiling Mike Flynn’s birthday celebrations. The U’s have had a steady start to the campaign so far, having picked up 15 points from the opening 13 fixtures. Last season, they only narrowly failed to reach the play-offs, missing out by a solitary point.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League 2 encounter.

Last six league matches

The U’s have picked up seven points from the last 18 available in League 2, after two wins, one draw and three defeats from the previous six league matches.

That run started way back on 16th September, when Sammie Szmodics could only net a late consolation in the 3-1 defeat at Cheltenham Town.

Another defeat soon followed, Brandon Hanlan’s goal not enough to prevent Colchester from suffering a 2-1 home defeat to Wycombe Wanderers.

They stopped their losing run with a battling point at Grimsby, Kyel Reid twice netting in the 2-2 draw.

They then won back-to-back games. Sean Murray’s second-half strike was enough to give them a narrow 1-0 victory at Yeovil, in what is Colchester’s only away victory to date in all competitions. Interestingly, they are the only side to take all three points from Huish Park this season.

The U’s followed that up with another solid performance, Murray again scoring alongside Mikael Mandron to give them a 2-0 success against pre-season favourites Mansfield Town.

But defeat in their last match, 1-0 at home to Carlisle, saw them slip one place to 16th in League 2 ahead of their trip to Rodney Parade.



The visitors have several injury concerns ahead of their trip to South Wales.

Midfielder Sammie Szmodics (ankle) continues to make a speedy recovery but won’t be ready in time while Brennan Dickenson, Courtney Senior and club captain Luke Prosser are all absent with knee problems.

Striker Kurtis Guthrie has suffered a setback in his rehabilitation from an ankle injury, with Kane Vincent-Young and Doug Loft missing with hamstring injuries.

Those injuries saw the U’s line-up in a 4-4-2 formation last time out, with Mikael Mandron and Brendon Hanlan up-front. Ex-Exile Ryan Jackson started in his usual right-back position.


Colchester team vs Carlisle (4-4-2): Walker, Jackson, Eastman, Kent, Kpekawa, Wright, Murray, Loft, Reid, Mandron, Hanlan  


One to watch – Mikael Mandron

Age: 22

Position: Striker  

Goals this season: 3

Selected previous clubs: Sunderland, Eastleigh, Wigan Athletic

Mandron has started well to life in Essex, netting three goals already this campaign after joining in the summer for an undisclosed fee.

Interestingly, Mandron’s goals have all come at home so far this season. And when the 22-year old scores, Colchester have never lost.

He grabbed the equaliser against Stevenage in their opening home game of the season, before scoring in the 3-1 victory over Crawley Town. His most recent goal came on 7th October with his strike against Mansfield Town.

He has also been sent off this season, his dismissal at Cheltenham Town the first of his professional career to date.

Prior to joining the U’s, Mandron has had a mixed career so far, with the French born striker starting at Sunderland.

He spent his youth career with The Black Cats - making his Premier League debut on 29th April 2013. However, it didn’t quite go to plan for him as he came on in the 85th minute of a 6-1 defeat to Aston Villa.

Mandron made two further Premier League appearances following spells in League 2 with three different clubs.

He made his debut for Shrewsbury Town against County in a 1-0 victory, although combined with loans to Hartlepool United and Fleetwood Town, could only manage one goal from 18 League 2 appearances.

Upon his release from Sunderland in July 2016, Mandron signed with National League outfit Eastleigh. It was here that Mandron began to finally find his shooting boots, attracting the attention of Championship side Wigan Athletic after scoring 15 goals from 33 appearances.

But his stint with the Latics was extremely short-lived, making just three appearances in the second-half of the season before his summer move to Colchester United.  


Manager – John McGreal


McGreal has been in charge since 4th May 2016, being appointed after the club’s relegation to League 2.

He led the club to a steady eighth place finish last season, missing out on the final play-off spot by a solitary point.

During the season, McGreal won the Manager of the Month award for December, becoming the first Colchester manager to win the accolade for eight years.

It is his first managerial spell to date, with his record standing at a 33.8% win rate from his 68 games in charge. That sees McGreal winning 23 of the 68 games, with a further 17 draws and 27 defeats. 

Prior to management, McGreal had a successful nine-year spell with Tranmere Rovers, scoring once in 233 appearances.

He moved to Ipswich for £650,000 in 1999, winning the Championship play-off final to move to the Premier League.

He scored two Premiership goals with the club, against Everton and Tottenham Hotspur, with the defender also scoring in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup campaign.

He moved to Burnley in 2004 where he spent three seasons, before joining the coaching ranks at Colchester United.


Previous meetings


The two sides have met on 48 previous occasions.

And while County won the first meeting on 16th September 1950, it is in fact Colchester United who have the better head-to-head record. They have won 21 of the previous meetings, with County winning on 13 occasions and a further 14 draws.

The Exiles biggest ever win over the U’s was way back on 4th October 1969. County won 4-1 that day in League Division Four while Colchester’s biggest win came back on 1st January 1977 with a 5-0 win.

Of the previous meetings, only two have occurred since County’s reformation in 1989.

And both of those games ended in draws last season.

Graham Westley had to watch from the stands before taking over as County manager as the two sides drew 0-0 at the Colchester Community Stadium before a 1-1 draw at Rodney Parade.

Josh Sheehan saw his early opener cancelled out by a Chris Porter penalty, as the Exiles ended a run of eight straight defeats in League 2.  



Referee: Darren England

Assistant Referee 1: Thomas Harty

Assistant Referee 2: Ravel Cheosiaua

Fourth Official: Simon Knapp

Darren England was a late appointment for this game after Robert Lewis was ruled out following his injury on Saturday evening.

Lewis was substituted on 50 minutes with concussion after colliding with Charlton’s Josh Magennis in their 1-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers.  

England is currently embarking on his first season as a Championship referee after a remarkable rise through the English system.

He only officiated for two seasons in League’s 1 and 2 before making the jump, officiating in the Conference prior to that.

He has refereed 10 Championship games so far this season, of which the last was on Saturday as Fulham and Preston drew 2-2.

That sees England giving out 38 yellows and 1 red card from the ten games, following on from the 42 games that he refereed last season.

During 2016/17, he distributed 116 yellows and a further nine red cards across all competitions.


County Connection

England has refereed County on five previous occasions and all of these have been in League 2. From the five games, County have won three of them, losing one and drawing the other.

Last season, England refereed three County games, the first coming in the 2-0 victory over Carlisle United which saw the Cumbrians lose their unbeaten start to the season. Two yellow cards were given to both teams, Darren Jones and Josh O’Hanlon booked for County.

He then officiated the 0-0 draw with Barnet, Mark O’Brien cautioned on that occasion before his last game that season saw County secure a 1-0 home victory over Crawley Town.

Four yellow cards and two red cards were given out in that game, Joss Labadie sent off for the Exiles as-well as a yellow card for Mickey Demetriou.

In 2015/16, England refereed a further two games. The first of those saw Danny Holmes and Connor Dymond booked in the 1-0 victory at York City.

The other came in the 1-0 defeat at home to Cambridge United. No bookings were given to the Exiles although three were given to the visitors.


Other League 2 fixtures that day (All 7:45pm kick-offs unless stated)

Barnet vs Mansfield Town (8pm)

Cambridge United vs Yeovil Town

Carlisle United vs Wycombe Wanderers

Cheltenham Town vs Grimsby Town

Coventry City vs Forest Green Rovers

Crawley Town vs Chesterfield

Crewe Alexandra vs Notts County

Exeter City vs Luton Town

Morecambe vs Port Vale

Stevenage vs Accrington Stanley

Swindon Town vs Lincoln City



Can’t make the match?

You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the Club’s official Facebook and Instagram pages.

Don’t forget – if you reside outside of the UK, you can watch the game live by subscribing to County’s iFollow service. Commentary by Charlie Brown and Richard Sheppard can also be found at the Match Centre.

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Match Reports

REPORT| Exiles suffer first home league defeat of the season to Colchester United

17 October 2017

Ex-Exile Ryan Jackson came back to haunt his old club as Mikael Mandron also scored in a 2-1 victory for Colchester United at Rodney Parade.

The first-half yielded just the one shot on target, Joe Day superbly making a low save to keep out Brandon Hanlan.

And after County had missed a few chances early on in the second-half, Colchester made sure they were duly punished with two clinical finishes.

Jackson scored the opener on 72 minutes with a calm finish from 10 yards after being found unmarked by Mandron, who duly doubled the U’s advantage on 77 minutes.

Sean Murray’s delivery into the area seemed to take a glance off Mandron, who guided it past Joe Day with a fine header.

County substitute Shawn McCoulsky reduced the deficit on 85 minutes with his own header from a Dan Butler cross, but the Exiles couldn’t find the desired equaliser as they suffered a first home league defeat of the season.

Mike Flynn elected to name an unchanged side for the third successive League 2 game.

That saw the Exiles line-up in their usual 3-5-2 formation with Padraig Amond and Frank Nouble, who have 11 goals between them already this season, again leading the line up-front.

Colchester United manager John McGreal made three changes to his side that suffered a 1-0 home defeat to Carlisle United on the weekend.

And that saw a change in formation for the U’s with the visitors also electing to use the 3-5-2 system.

Defender Cole Kpekawa missed out of the matchday squad completely to be replaced by Kane Vincent-Young, while Diaz Wright also failed to make the trip to South Wales as Brandon Comley came in.

The final change saw Kyel Reid drop to the bench, with Ryan Inniss moving into the midfield.

And County really should have opened the scoring within the first two minutes.

Nouble, at his menacing best early-doors, charged past ex-Exile Ryan Jackson and into the area, before playing the ball across the area for his captain, but Joss Labadie was stretching when trying to connect and smashed it over the crossbar.

Colchester United swiftly created their opening opportunity of the night on four minutes, although Mikael Mandron’s header sailed well over the crossbar.

The visitors were growing into the game the longer it progressed, Labadie forced to hook a clearance away with several players waiting eagerly in the penalty area.

But that would unfortunately be Labadie’s last action of the night, being forced to withdraw due to what looked like a hamstring problem, Sean Rigg coming on in his place.

Nouble, Amond and Rigg all had shots blocked before the half-hour mark, as both sides were having healthy spells in the game.

Colchester were looking menacing on the counter-attack, especially with their evident ability of being able to spring 50 yard passes anywhere on the field.

David Pipe, who took the armband when Labadie went off, was doing an excellent job in breaking up the attacks should the visitors venture forward, by far the stand out man of the opening half hour.

But there was nothing Pipe could do to prevent the U’s from having a glorious chance on 33 minutes, and arguably they should have scored.

Brandon Hanlan was played through by a clever pass from Doug Loft, only to see Joe Day close the angle and make a clever low save to force a corner, of which Mandron headed over.

Immediately afterwards, Vincent-Young had to withdraw for the away side with an unspecified injury, prompting McGreal to throw on Lewis Kinsella in his place.

Rigg flashed an audacious effort from 50 yards wide on 42 minutes, before County again came close before half-time.

Pipe had again done superbly to charge down the right-hand side before looping an inviting ball into the area. But Amond and Nouble could only miskick the ball as it snuck out for a throw-in.

The indication of one minute of additional time couldn’t inspire either side to muster another chance, as both sides went-in to the dressing rooms with the game firmly in the balance.

County were looking a threat with their aerial presence during the opening 45 minutes, although couldn’t find a way through away goalkeeper Sam Walker.

It was evident that Colchester were bringing the physicality to the game, both strikers causing problems for the Exiles throughout, although the visitors could only manage the one big opportunity in the first-half.

McGreal was clearly unhappy with something from his side as he made his second substitution at half-time.

Lewis Kinsella entered the proceedings as Doug Loft made way, in a like-for-like change in the left-back position.

And after a slow opening to the second-half, it was the visitors who created the first chance on 54 minutes. Mandron again saw a header go wide as the visitors made the superior start.

Tozer saw a shot deflected wide for County’s opening chance of the second forty-five minutes, although Demetriou couldn’t quite connect to Dolan’s resulting corner.

And when County created their opening shot on target of the night on the hour, Amond was unlucky to be denied.

Pipe played a superb splitting pass into the path of the Irishman, only to see Walker tip it past the post. From the resulting corner, Tozer came even closer with a 20-yard volley that hit the post.

Then just sixty seconds later, Amond saw a header hooked off the line by Brandon Comley as County were really starting to turn the screw in the game.

Nouble blazed over on 64 minutes, before the Exiles could have been made to pay for not taking the chances as Mandron really should have done better when found in the area, only for the ball to come off his ankle to the relief of Day in the County goal.

And Day would have been relieved again on 71 minutes as Hanlan somehow headed over from just under the crossbar.

But they wouldn’t be denied again as Ex-Exile Ryan Jackson fired home in the area just a minute later. Jackson was found in the area by a delivery from Mandron, controlled himself before placing a shot through the legs of Demetriou and past Day.

The U’s could have extended their lead within 30 seconds of the restart, Hanlan being denied superbly by Day before again heading over from the narrowest of angles.

And all the Colchester pressure paid off for them as they grabbed their second of the night on 77 minutes.

Sean Murray whipped in an inviting delivery into the area, which Mandron seemed to get the faintest of touches to in order to guide it past a helpless Joe Day.    

It was no more than the visitors deserved for a dominating period of play over the previous 20 minutes.

That forced Flynn into an attacking double substitution, Shawn McCoulsky and Lamar Reynolds both coming on in place of Dolan and Pipe, who was easily County’s superior player on the night.

And McCoulsky was intent on making a game of it, netting his sixth of the season with five minutes to go.

The striker was found in the area by a Dan Butler cross and duly provided the finishing touch to get County back into the game.

The U’s may have sealed the game right at the death, only to see Bennett superbly deny a swift Colchester United counter-attack.

Four minutes of added time gave the Exiles the license to really throw everything at the visitors, with McCoulsky coming so close in the second minute of added time, although couldn't connect to an Amond cross.

But Colchester defended resiliently from that moment on to see out a credible away victory at Rodney Parade.


County: Day, Pipe (McCoulsky 75’), Butler, Bennett, Demetriou, White, Tozer, Labadie (C) (Rigg 15’), Dolan (Reynolds 79’), Amond, Nouble

Subs not used: Bittner, O’Brien, Owen-Evans, Quigley


Colchester United: Walker, Inniss, Eastman, Kent (C), Vincent-Young (Kinsella 34’), Murray, Comley, Loft (Lapslie 45’), Jackson, Mandron, Hanlan (Odelusi 85’)

Subs not used: Slater, Gilmartin, Kabamba, Reid


Referee: Darren England

Attendance: 2,704 (136 away)

Next up for County: Mansfield Town (21st October) HOME

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