Colchester United 1 Chesterfield 1, match report: Brandon Hanlan nets equaliser on his U’s debut

PUBLISHED: 21:45 12 September 2017 | UPDATED: 22:05 12 September 2017

Brandon Hanlan celebrates after scoring to salvage a point for the U's..  Picture: STEVE WALLER    WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

Brandon Hanlan celebrates after scoring to salvage a point for the U's.. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Colchester United 1 Chesterfield 1

Brandon Hanlan crowned his Colchester United debut with a goal to rescue a point for the U’s, against Chesterfield tonight.

On as a 71st minute substitute, Hanlan popped up with the equaliser within 12 minutes of his introduction.

Ryan Jackson propelled a long throw into the box, and Hanlan was in the right place to flick home from six yards out. It was a smart finish from the 20-year-old Charlton loanee.

And the U’s nearly won it when Drey Wright struck a post with a thunderbolt on 86 minutes.

Earlier, Louis Reed fired the Spireites ahead with a spectacular shot in the 43rd minute.

Sam Walker was left clutching at thin air as midfielder Reed’s first-time shot flew like a bullet into the roof of the net, from 20 yards out.

It was the Sheffield United loanee’s first-ever senior goal, and it was a great way for the 20-year-old to get off the mark.

The U’s, so poor in the first half, improved after the break and Kane Vincent-Young came close to an equaliser when striking the far post with a terrific effort from the left flank on 75 minutes, before Hanlan secured a deserved point.

U’s boss John McGreal made two changes to the side that recorded a comfortable 3-1 home win over Crawley on Saturday.

Frankie Kent limped off at half-time with a knee injury against the Red Devils, so was replaced by Cameron James on the left side of a three-man defence.

The other change saw Vincent-Young preferred to Lewis Kinsella at left wing-back.

Chesterfield had been hammered 5-1 at Crewe over the weekend, but they actually started the brighter during the opening quarter-of-an-hour, without threatening Sam Walker’s goal.

The U’s were strangely subdued – they had raced into a 2-0 lead against Crawley inside 14 minutes – and it wasn’t until the 14th minute that they launched a meaningful attack, with Sammie Szmodics rifling a 20-yarder narrowly over the bar

Spireites keeper Tommy Lee was forced into his first save of the match in the 20th minute.

Ryan Jackson outwitted ex-U’s left-back Matt Briggs down the flank and whipped over a cross for Mikael Mandron to nod into the danger area. His strike-force partner, Nicke Kambamba, headed goalwards with a good effort which Lee was at full stretch to claw away for a corner.

Vincent-Young produced the best moment of the first half-hour, when skipping past Robbie Weir to burst into the penalty area. Unfortunately, his final ball let him down.

On 31 minutes, Szmodics let fly with his second sweet shot of the night. Lee was equal to the task, beating away the shot with strong hands.

At the other end, Walker made his first save of the evening in the 39th minute, blocking leading scorer Kristian Dennis’ angled drive down at his near post.

But four minutes later and Walker had no chance when Reed let fly with a cracking first-time shot which flew into the roof of the net.

And it was so nearly 2-0 on the stroke of half-time, Walker saving the day by steering Diego De Girolamo’s shot away from his goal.

The U’s were glad to hear the half-time whistle, but they started the second period on the front foot.

A cross by Szmodics was almost diverted into his own net by sweeper Sam Hird, while Kabamba squandered a great chance when slicing wide with just keeper Lee to beat in the 53rd minute.

Only the woodwork denied the U’s an equaliser in the 75th minute, Vincent-Young’s sensational shot from the left flank beating keeper Lee, but thudding back off the top of the far post.

Four minutes later and Tom Eastman had a goal-bound shot blocked at point blank range by Briggs. There was a suspicion of handball, but referee Darren Handley was not convinced.

But Hanlan flicked home an 83rd minute equaliser, and Drey Wright hit a post late on as the U’s tried to take all three points.

Squads

COLCHESTER: Walker, Eastman, Inniss, James (sub Drey Wright, 66), Jackson, Lapslie, Comley, Vincent-Young, Szmodics (sub Odelusi, 88), Mandron (sub Hanlan, 71), Kabamba. Unused subs: Gilmartin, Kinsella, Kpekawa,Diaz Wright.

CHESTERFIELD: Lee, Hird, Wiseman, Jules, Barry, Weir, Flores, Reed (sub McCourt, 73), Briggs, Dennis (sub Ugwu, 83), De Girolamo (sub O’Grady, 66). Unused subs: Anyon, Sinnott, Maguire, Kellett.

Referee: Darren Handley (Lancs)

Attendance: 2,552 (117 away fans)

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