DONCASTER Rovers went level on points with League One leaders Tranmere as they inflicted an eighth successive defeat on Colchester united with a cracking late goal by David Cotterill..
For full report, reaction and more see The Star on Monday.
Doncaster’s first half performance, however, lacked any sort of control or craft as a Colchester side that had lost seven on the bounce looked much more spritely.
Colchester began in much brighter fashion and, while Rovers struggled to put anything meaningful together, Bean glanced Wordsworth’s right wing centre just wide of the right hand upright.
Syers saw a volley blocked at the other end but United continued their lively start when Wright ghosted into the box and forced Woods to save low down.
Wordsworth then cut across the ball from 25 yards and his tame effort dribbled wide following yet more neat build up play from the visitors.
Colchester’s five-man midfield had a grip on the game but Cotterill continued to be an outlet, firstly almost picking out Hume with a drilled centre and then seeing a shot blocked from distance.
On the 20-minute mark came Sinclair’s first real involvement, holding off his man and firing just wide from the edge of the area.
Rovers failed to deal with Rose’s dangerous in-swinging corner and Okuonghae might have done better from close range, before Jones had to be on his toes to deny Bean a shooting chance after more neat play from Colchester in the final third.
Bennett showed some nice skill on the left to produce a good cross but Sinclair was unable to get on the end of it, before teeing up Syers to drill wide from the edge of the box.
Colchester had the ball in the net just before the interval when Thompson headed home Wilson’s left wing free kick but his effort was ruled out for pushing.
Hume dropped a little deeper at the start of the second period as Rovers attempted to get a foothold in the game, and also inject more urgency into their play.
And the diminutive forward came closest to breaking the deadlock for Doncaster when Jones headed Cotterill’s free kick into his path but his volley was blocked smartly by Colchester keeper Cousins.
Hume looked most likely for the home side, again working tirelessly for the cause, and he exchanged passes with Syers before drilling wide from distance.
Wide man Wright attempted to wrestle a scrappy game back in favour of the away team when he shot wide after a penetrative run from the left, before Spurr’s long throw at the other end eventually fell kindly for Hume but again his close range effort was blocked by Cousins.
Wight curled an effort over the bar after showing good strength to hold off Bennett as United continued to look dangerous in and around Rovers’ penalty area.
Saunders sought a much-needed spark from the bench in the 67th minute when he introduced Coppinger and debutant Fowler for Bennett and Sinclair, with Syers pushing forward to support Hume.
Cotterill switched to the left and Coppinger to the right as Rovers continued to gain some sort of upper hand.
A prolonged stoppage for an injury to Izzet did little to help the flow of the game and a dreary affair seemed to be heading to a disappointing goalless stalemate.
A horribly sliced clearance from the usually dependable Jones was symptomatic of a below-par display, but thankfully for the defender no harm came from his miscue, with Colchester now content to settle for a point.
Another injury, this time to United’s Compton, continued to disrupt the flow of the game, albeit a minimal flow.
Out of absolutely nothing, however, came the game’s defining moment. COTTERILL picked up possession on half way and was allowed to run to the edge of the box where he unleashed a superb curling effort into the far corner.
It was a moment of sublime quality from Rovers’ top scorer, not in-keeping with the preceding 83 minutes.