MATTY Etherington was left to rue Colchester United’s second-half performance after they slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Doncaster Rovers.

The U’s had gone in at half-time in the ascendency at the Eco-Power Stadium, after Joe Taylor had cancelled out Tom Smith’s own goal and the visitors had finished the first half strongly.

But they struggled to make their mark after the break and goals from Mo Faal and Joe Ironside condemned Colchester to a third successive defeat, in League Two.

The defeat leaves Colchester in 21st place in the League Two table, five points above the relegation zone.

U’s head coach Etherington said: “It wasn’t good enough, in the second half.

READ MORE: Match report as Colchester United fall to defeat at Doncaster Rovers

“It was the worst 45 minutes of football I’ve had since I came into the role.

“It was really disappointing.

“I thought the players kept going until the end and we had a couple of chances.

“But we didn’t deserve to win it after our second-half performance and it was set pieces again, players not picking their men up from the second phase.

“I really liked the reaction in terms of what we did after their (first) goal and I told the players that at half-time.

“We didn’t really want half-time to come and we were the team on top but it was about carrying on that momentum and doing the ugly side of the game.


“Doncaster are really aggressive on transition and they leave spaces if you’re good enough on the ball and I just didn’t feel that in general we were, albeit we did still create some very good chances.

“There’s been some good stuff again and some really good chances created but we didn’t do the ugly side of the game that Doncaster do and that’s something that needs to be addressed.

“It’s probably something we were doing, when I first came in.

“If you look at the Grimsby and Accrington games we did that and maybe we’ve gone away from that a little bit and we need to get back to that.”

READ MORE: Doncaster Rovers 3 Colchester United 1 - as it happened

Colchester were once again left to rue their inability to deal with set plays, after Doncaster’s first two goals came from corners.

Etherington said: “Ultimately, it’s two set pieces that have cost us.

“For the second goal, we should be tighter but he’s got a free header and it was a decent header, to be fair.


“You always face an uphill battle when you’re conceding goals on a regular basis from set pieces.

“It’s something that we’re addressing but it’s still not getting addressed properly, in terms of conceding goals.

“The set-up hasn’t changed throughout the whole season, in terms of the way we do it and it was good early on.

“Teams will start to notice now that we’re susceptible from set plays and we have to do something about it.”

Colchester's next game is their EFL Trophy match against West Ham United under-21s, next Tuesday night.