Colchester Utd 1-1 Crawley Town: Sinclair nets first Reds goal

Reds boss Richie Barker
Reds boss Richie Barker

Reds came from a goal down to draw 1-1 for the second successive match as they picked up another point away at Colchester.

Freddie Sears gave The U’s an early lead before striker Emile Sinclair netted his first Crawley goal on his full debut to make it four League One games unbeaten for Richie Barker’s side.

Just like seven days before, Crawley’s attacking players got themselves in good positions but the final ball was again lacking.

The Reds boss made three changes from the draw against Shrewsbury, Sinclair handed his first start since signing from Peterborough, while Mike Jones and Joe Walsh also came in.

The U’s found themselves ahead in the sixth minute when skipper Brian Wilson, on the right squared the ball to Sears, and although his strike from the edge of the box wasn’t clean it beat Paul Jones and found the bottom corner.

It didn’t take long for Crawley to carve their first half chance, after a neat build-up Mike Jones picked out Nicky Adams but on the stretch he headed over from six yards.

And from a corner in the 14th minute Reds skipper Josh Simpson volleyed not far wide under the close attentions of Alex Gilbey.

There was a buzz of excitement from the home support every time Jeffrey Monakana got on the ball, and the nippy little attacker saw a fizzing 20-yard shot on the spin sink into the side netting with Jones scrambling.

Colchester began to look the more likely to get a second, and there was a major let off for Reds midfielder Andy Drury. His attempted crossfield ball only found Sears on the right, and when he picked out Jabo Ibehre the striker saw his curler crash back off the crossbar with Jones beaten.

Just as the hosts were starting to get on top, Reds hit back with an equaliser on 32 minutes. Adams and Sadler linked up well down the left, the latter stood up a cross and Sinclair’s header down just beat Sam Walker in goal to find the net.

And two minutes later they came so close to a second, from Simpson’s low cross Drury struck the inside of the near post and on the rebound Clarke was denied by Walker.

Adams ripped a shot just wide from distance as the visitors’ confidence levels were visibly boosted by half-time.

There were howls for a penalty from the home crowd behind the Crawley goal at the restart when Ibehre and Kyle McFadzean both tumbled in the area chasing a high ball, referee Stroud though uninterested.

Left back Luke Garbutt then cracked one from a long way out which skimmed onto the roof of the net which Paul Jones probably had covered.

After a 15 minute lull Monakana trick his way past Mat Sadler and crossed low for Gilbey but his shot was blocked, and straight down the other end Clarke spun Matt Taylor and drew a diving stop from Walker from his weaker right boot.

Similarly to the week before there was good build-up play from Barker’s side, but aimless balls into the box and hopeful efforts from outside the box undermind their good work.

When Clarke did have the ball in the back of the net from Simpson’s cross it was ruled out for offside, and neither goalkeeper was tested for the remaining minutes as it finished even.

Crawley (4-2-3-1): Paul Jones; Mat Sadler, Josh Simpson, Joe Walsh, Kyle McFadzean; Mike Jones (Hurst 88), Dannie Bulman; Nicky Adams, Billy Clarke, Andy Drury (Torres 77); Emile Sinclair (Proctor 63).

Subs: James Hurst, Mark Connolly, Connor Essam, Sergio Torres, Jamie Proctor, Luke Rooney, Johny Maddison.

Colchester: Sam Walker; Brian Wilson, Luke Garbutt, Magnus Okuonhae, Matt Taylor; David Wright, Craig Eastmond; Alex Gilbey (Ladapo 80), Jeffrey Monakana (Hubble 85), Freddie Sears (Morrison 80); Jabo Ibehre.