Colchester United 1 Coventry City 3

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A LATE flag and an early flag were Colchester United’s undoing in a controversial showdown against improving Coventry City tonight.

And it was referee Trevor Kettle who was in the spotlight.

Two goals in a three-minute spell, through Franck Moussa and William Edjenguele on 34 and 37 minutes, condemned the U’s to a fourth defeat in their last five outings, despite a cracking second-half fightback.

But there was more than a tinge of controversy surrounding an incident-packed first half.

The U’s had an opening goal by Jabo Ibehre disallowed by a very late offside flag, although in truth the MK Dons loanee did seem to be standing in an offside position when he diverted home Marcus Bean’s shot.

There was nothing controversial about City’s opener, with the U’s completely opened up by David McGoldrick’s slick pass.

Gary McSheffrey burst clear of the defence and squared for Moussa to sweep into an empty net from six yards out.

But the U’s felt very hard done-by for the Sky Blues’ all-important second goal.

Carl Baker delivered a deep cross from the right for centre-half Edjenguele to nod home, but the assistant referee raised his flag promptly for offside.

United were keen to get the game restarted and were preparing to go on the attack when referee Mr Kettle , after consultation with his assistant, over-turned the original decision and awarded the goal.

It can only be assumed that the assistant referee had ruled offside against the lurking McSheffrey, and not goalscorer Edjenguele, but it was a bitter pill to swallow.

Tom Eastman halved the deficit in the 71st minute, as the U’s sensed a way back into the game, but McGoldrick burst clear to wrap up the points with a breakaway goal in the 88th minute.

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