COLCHESTER United fell to a third successive league defeat after losing 3-1 at Doncaster Rovers tonight.

The U's miserable record at the Eco-Power Stadium continued, with Joe Taylor's strike proving scant consolation for them on the night.

Colchester have not won at Doncaster since 1998 and that sequence continued, after goals from Joe Ironside, Mo Faal and a Tom Smith own goal won it for the hosts.

Colchester boss Matty Etherington made three changes to his starting line-up.

Fiacre Kelleher was handed his first league start for nearly three months in defence while Chay Cooper and Tom Hopper both earned recalls with Will Greenidge dropping to the bench and Samson Tovide and Jayden Fevrier both suspended, as the U’s lined up in a 4-3-1-2 formation.

There was little to choose between the two sides in the opening stages, although Doncaster did go close in the ninth minute when Mo Faal headed over from close following Tom Nixon's fine run and cross into the six-yard box.

And the West Brom loanee came close again four minutes later with an acrobatic effort that dropped just wide of the post, after Colchester had failed to properly clear a corner.


But the U’s came close to scoring, midway through the first half when Joe Taylor escaped down the left and tried his luck with a low shot that whistled past the far post.

Colchester goalkeeper Tom Smith made a fine stop from point blank range to deny James Maxwell in the area, following a smart interchange by the hosts.

But from the resultant corner, the U’s conceded when the ball went in off Smith at the near post, as Colchester again conceded from a set piece.

The U’s looked for a quick response and almost got one when Taylor somehow escaped the offside flag after being picked out by Noah Chilvers' long pass in the area but fired straight at Louis Jones.

Gazette: Joe Taylor

It eventually came in the 43rd minute when Taylor fired a low shot clinically past Jones for his ninth goal of the season, after Cooper had picked the U’s leading scorer out with a wonderful pass.

It was the U's first goal at Doncaster in seven games and they almost went ahead in the fifth minute of time added on in the first half.

Defender Zach Mitchell was denied at the near post by Jones, after the Doncaster goalkeeper had parried away Taylor’s effort into the defender’s path.

It meant the teams went in level at the break but Doncaster started the second half well and Smith was perhaps fortunate not to be sent off on the hour mark when he raced out of his area and clattered Faal, with the U's keeper only receiving a booking.

And Colchester fell behind again in the 73rd minute when Faal rose high at the back post to head home a deep Lee Molyneux cross, after a corner had been worked short.

Colchester tried to find a route back into the contest as the clock ticked down and Chilvers' fizzing 25-yard effort was parried away by Jones.

But Smith was forced to parry away Molyneux's curled long-range effort for a corner and Doncaster increased their lead when Joe Ironside fired home from the spot in the 87th minute, after substitute Will Greenidge had fouled Molyneux in the area.

Substitute Brad Ihionvien was denied by keeper Jones in stoppage time and Cameron McGeehan also had a long-range effort tipped over but the U's were beaten.

MATCH FACTS: COLCHESTER UNITED: Smith, Kelleher, Dallison (sub Jay, 87), Mitchell, Egbo, McGeehan, Read, Chilvers, Cooper (sub Greenidge, 65), Hopper (sub Ihionvien, 76), Taylor.

Substitutes (not used): Terry, Kennedy, Bandeira, Collins.

Doncaster Rovers: Jones, Maxwell, Anderson, Wood (sub Biggins, 89), Rowe (sub Molyneux, 70), Nixon (sub Westbrooke, 70), Bailey, Ironside, Senior (sub Olowu, 41), Close (sub Broadbent, 89), Faal.

Substitutes (not used): Hurst, Lawlor.

Goals: Colchester: Taylor (43). Doncaster: Smith (own goal, 33), Faal (73), Ironside (87).

Bookings: Colchester: Hopper (foul, 23), McGeehan (foul, 51), Smith (foul, 60), Ihionvien (unsporting behaviour, 79). Doncaster: Olowu (foul, 63), Rowe (foul, 67).

Red card: None.

Referee: Ben Toner.

Attendance: 5,412 (159 U's fans).