Under-18 Professional Development League

COLCHESTER United's under-18s suffered late heartbreak after two late goals condemned them to defeat at Coventry City, writes BRIAN WALLER.

For the second successive week Chris Llewellyn's side lost out late in a match, having been minutes away from registering their first league win of the season.

Colchester once again fielded an under-18 side consisting of mainly first-year scholars and under-16s.

They found it tough going in the first half against a well-drilled and physically strong Coventry side.

Nevertheless, Colchester worked hard to compete physically, defended well as a team and gradually worked their way into the game.

As the half wore on they enjoyed their fair share of possession and caused Coventry problems, most notably down the flanks from left-back Harvey Sayer and the pacy Todd Miller.

After a goal-less first half, Colchester started the second half the brighter and took a deserved lead on the hour.

Top scorer Jake Hutchinson was slipped in down the inside right channel by Miller and his well-struck effort across goal beat the Coventry keeper in his bottom corner.

This gave Colchester a welcome boost and although Coventry were a constant threat going forward, the visitors defended well and continued to search for a second goal.

It should have come soon after as an off-the-ball incident prompted the assistant referee to flag and the referee duly awarded Colchester a penalty.

Coventry were incensed and their angry protestations delayed the penalty being taken for several minutes.

When Hutchinson eventually stepped up, his kick was poorly struck as the keeper guessed the right way and saved down to his left.

This gave Coventry fresh impetus as Colchester’s young legs tired considerably, as they used substitutes from the under-16 game that was played alongside.

Despite some valiant last-ditch defending, a clumsy challenge in the box resulted in Coventry equalising from the spot with ten minutes remaining.

It was a cruel blow for the U's youngsters who had worked so hard but worse was to come in injury-time.

After a corner was not cleared, the ball popped around the six-yard box and was somehow stabbed home by the Coventry forward.

There was still time for the U’s to launch one last attempt but a very bad challenge on Miller as he raced down the wing resulted in a melee which saw cards shown to players from both teams.