Su­per­sub Sam­mie saves the gritty U’s

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Matthew Good­ing

SAM­MIE Sz­mod­ics gave in­jury-hit Colch­ester United a timely boost by re­turn­ing af­ter a long lay-off to net a late equaliser at Cam­bridge United – and it was no less than they de­served ac­cord­ing to boss John McGreal.

The U’s have 14 play­ers on the side­lines, with top-scorer Kur­tis Guthrie and in­flu­en­tial mid­fielder Craig Slater the lat­est ad­di­tions to the club’s in­jury list.

But Sz­mod­ics, who has been out since Oc­to­ber with a foot prob­lem, came off the bench to net the lev­eler from Bren­nan Dick­en­son’s de­li­cious cross six min­utes from time.

Cam­bridge had led since the 21st minute thanks to Gerry McDon­agh’s goal, but Colch­ester boss McGreal was re­lieved to have Sz­mod­ics back fit again to level.

“I felt the equaliser was com­ing,” he said. “We changed our shape to try and get some­thing out of the game, and Sam’s come off the bench and got the goal for us. It was a good goal and we’re pleased with what is a good point. In the first half we dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion with­out hav­ing that clin­i­cal edge, and we did that to an ex­tent again in the sec­ond half.

“We’ve been wait­ing a long time to get Sam­mie back, he’s been out for four months and he came on and made a real dif­fer­ence.”

Cam­bridge had the bet­ter of the first pe­riod, with Ge­orge Maris and Luke Berry bright in mid­field.

But nei­ther team had man­aged a shot on tar­get be­fore McDon­agh opened the scor­ing, con­trol­ling well in the box be­fore turn­ing and fir­ing in a pow­er­ful shot.

Shaun Derry’s side could have in­creased their lead had Berry made bet­ter con­tact with a Piero Min­goia cross, but as the match wore on Colch­ester be­gan to look more dan­ger­ous. Will Nor­ris saved well from Ge­orge Elokobi, and sub­sti­tute Ma­cauley Bonne had an ef­fort ruled out for off­side be­fore Sz­mod­ics found the net for the vis­i­tors.

“We car­ried out our game plan well, which I’m very pleased with,” said Derry, whose team are 12th, seven points off the play-off places.

“We were strong de­fen­sively and counter-at­tacked at the right mo­ments, but we didn’t get the sec­ond goal, and if we’d gone on and done that I think it would’ve been our game.

“Mid­way through the sec­ond we started to turn the screw a bit, but we needed to be more ruth­less. Time will tell whether this is a point gained or two dropped, we’ve got 12 games to go and there’s still a lot to play for.”

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