Under-23 Professional Development League Two

A FINE display by goalkeeper Ethan Ross was not enough to save Colchester United from defeat against Sheffield United, at Florence Park, writes BRIAN WALLER.

The former West Bromwich Albion shot-stopper made a number of fine stops including a penalty save but the U's, who featured ten current under-18 players, were beaten.

Kevin Horlock's side were soon under early pressure with Ross making a good save from a free-kick.

But Sheffield United took the lead after 12 minutes through Oliver Greaves, who swept in Keenan Ferguson's cross following a fine move.

The Blades were then given the chance to double their lead when Chris Forino fouled Reece York in the box to concede a penalty.

But Ross made a good save down to his right to deny Jordan Hallam.

Ross blocked Simeon Oure soon after and it took Colchester 42 minutes to register their first real shot on target.

Andre Hasanally came back inside from the left but was denied as keeper Jordan Amissah tipped his shot over the bar.

Jordan Doherty flicked a header just wide for the Blades who went in at half-time ahead but the U’s started the second half brightly.

Noah Chilvers' effort was tipped away by Amissah but at the other end, Ross blocked Greaves' shot.

And the visitors doubled their lead just after the hour when Hallam netted with a cross-shot after being found on the right by Doherty.

Ross made further good saves to foil Hallam, Harry Boyes and Sam Ackroyd before a freak goal for the visitors finally settled the match with nine minutes remaining.

Doherty's long-range shot hit his own team-mate Boyes and totally wrong-footed keeper Ross who seemed to have the shot covered, as Colchester were beaten.

COLCHESTER UNITED U23: Ross, Kazeem, Cracknell, Warde, Forino, Sims (sub Cornish, 65), Anderson (sub Krasniqi), Chilvers, Hasanally, Charles, Jones (sub Mudd). Subs (not used): Coulter, Michaels.