0 STOWMARKET TOWN
0 COLCHESTER UTD
Match Report by: Ross Billison
Photos by: Ben Pooley & Stefan Peck
Stowmarket held the fort against a strong Colchester United side in the penultimate pre-season face off.
The game got off to a good start for The Old Gold and Blacks after a carefully worked build-up and some dexterous skill saw a Reggie Lambe shot curl just over the bar six minutes in.
This positive attitude was maintained by Stowmarket throughout the game, despite being up against some experienced Colchester United players, namely Frank Nouble, who saw himself go into the referee’s book early on for dissent. A Joe Jefford glancing header from a freekick at the 30 minute mark may have been the best chance of the match, with the number five narrowly missing the goal after being left unmarked in the box.
Stowmarket continued to frustrate and be staunch in the face of a barrage of Colchester attacks, with the U’s flying fullbacks seeing some challenging low crosses dealt with by a solid defence.
Colchester answered back with a good first half defensive performance of their own, seeing one of their trialists put in a shift to keep Stowmarket at bay.
Freekicks were in abundance in this match, with Stowmarket unlucky not to convert, especially when a second chance at a delivery into the box from Reggie Lambe saw some appeals for handball, only to be waved away by the referee.
After a fairly quiet first half for James Bradbrook in goal, the stopper was called into action as the game reached its last quarter, having to command his box and punching clear a freekick as Colchester searched for that elusive first goal of the game.
Stowmarket responded with an attack of their own however, with substitutes Craig Parker and Luke Hipkin smoothly linking midfield to attack in the dying embers but were unlucky as a Hipkin shot arrowed wide of the net.
Shortly afterwards the fulltime whistle blew, which despite signalling a draw between the two teams, certainly represents a big step forward for Stowmarket having lost their pre-season game last year to Colchester 5-2. This confidence boost comes on top of keeping the spine of the squad with an additional seven new signings to bolster the team since last season’s 4th place finish in the Isthmian League North.
Manager Paul Musgrove was pleased with the disciplined and controlled performance but is now looking ahead to the final test of pre-season against Bowers Pitsea this coming Saturday, before the first clash of the new season against Hullbridge Sports.