MIKA IS OVER HIS PENALTY AGONY
MIKAEL MANDRON has endured an eventful week but John McGreal was impressed by the character the striker showed to earn Colchester United a point at home to Stevenage.
Mandron’s emphatic finish was his first U’s strike since his summer move from Wigan Athletic, cancelling out Danny Newton’s effort for Stevenage.
And it went some way to making up for a missed penalty during the week in a Carabao Cup defeat to Aston Villa.
The Colchester head coach said: “Mika dispatched his goal brilliantly well.He missed a penalty the other night but he doesn’t let things get him down.
“He’s a boy that gets himself about and gets himself into goalscoring opportunities.
“He could have scored in the first few minutes and he put it away quite well for the goal.
“We’re happy to come away with a point after that first-half performance.
“It looked as though some of our boys had left their legs on the pitch from Wednesday (against Villa).
“But we could have won the game in the end, with the chances that we had.”
Stevenage boss Darren Sarll felt his team also deserved their draw, which maintained their unbeaten league start.
He said: “I was pleased with the organisation of my side and I thought we were the better side overall, but I’m okay with the point. “This team is learning and we’re moving forward while picking up points – plus we are unbeaten in the league.
“This is a good point and we’ll look back on it as that when we get towards the end of the season.
“It was an honest error by Joe (Fryer) for their goal but he’s not going to make too many of them.”
The first half was a turgid affair, littered with stoppages and lacking in any real quality.
Mandron fired a good early chance over for Colchester, while Sammie Szmodics had an effort flash wide for the hosts.
Colchester keeper Sam Walker kept out Newton’s low shot on the half-hour but the U’s saved their best effort of the first half until just before half-time when Ryan Jackson’s low effort was palmed away by Stevenage keeper Joe Fryer.
The visitors started the second half well and Matt Godden’s strike flashed inches wide of the far post before Stevenage took a 51st-minute lead through Newton, who finished cleanly from close range after Ronnie Henry did well in the area to pick him out.
Colchester responded well and Mandron finished emphatically from Drey Wright’s pass into the area, after Fryer had inexplicably raced out of his goal.
Stevenage looked the most likely side to win the game after that, with Fraser Franks twice going close for the visitors but they could not find a winner as the spoils were shared.
COLCHESTER UNITED: (3-5-2): Walker 7, Eastman 6, Kent 6, Kpekawa 6 (Kinsella 49, 7), Jackson 7, Lapslie 7, Murray 7 (Slater 76, 6), Szmodics 6, Reid 7 (Loft 78 6), Wright 7, Mandron 7 Subs not used: James, Vincent-Young, Johnstone, Gilmartin
STEVENAGE: (4-4-2): Fryer 5, Henry 8, Wilkinson 6, Franks 7, Martin 6, Whelpdale 5 (Samuel 46, 6), Gorman 6, Smith 6, Beautyman 6 (Pett 87, N/A), Newton 7, Godden 7 (Kennedy 61, 6)
Subs not used: Conlon, van Cooten, McKee, Day
OFF THE MARK: Mikael Mandron equalises with his first goal for Colchester STAR MAN RONNIE HENRY Stevenage