MIKA IS OVER HIS PENALTY AGONY

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Jon Wal­dron

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

PIC­TURES: TGSPHOTO

OFF THE MARK: Mikael Mandron equalises with his first goal for Colch­ester STAR MAN RON­NIE HENRY Steve­nage

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