Colchester United were the 'only team in the game' during second half of Harrogate Town clash, claims Wayne Brown

Wayne Brown claimed that Colchester United were the "only team in the game" during the second half of Tuesday night's League Two clash with Harrogate Town.

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 8:11 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 8:16 am
Colchester United boss Wayne Brown. Pictures: Getty Images

The U’s interim manager made his rather surprising comments while speaking to Radio Essex following on from his side’s 3-0 defeat in North Yorkshire.

Trailing 2-0 at half-time, the visitors certainly made a fast start following the resumption, Tommy Smith hitting a post from Callum Harriott’s corner with less than a minute of the half gone.

Josh McPake then netted Town’s third of the evening on 56 minutes to more or less end the game as a contest, just moments after squandering another golden chance to finish United off.

Colchester midfielder Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu hides his head after his team fall three goals behind.

To their credit, Colchester certainly didn’t lay down and die during the latter stages and it took three good saves from James Belshaw to deny Aramide Oteh (twice) and Junior Tchamadeu.

Brown’s claims that the away side could have scored "seven or eight" after the break do however seem a little far fetched, and it would be rather a stretch to suggest that Harrogate never looked like adding to their tally at 3-0.

"Individual errors have cost us. We get off to the worst possible start, after 30 seconds in a game of football," the U's chief said.

"Then, another individual error has cost us just before half-time. Goals change games, timing of goals changes games. To concede after 30 seconds and just before half-time obviously deflates the group.

Will Smith slots home Harrogate Town's second goal of the game.

"What pleased me the most was the reaction of the lads at half-time. You find yourself 2-0 down and wanting a reaction from the lads and they didn't disappoint. We hit the post after 30 seconds of the second half and there's only one team in the game second half, for me.

"We took the game to them, we had the better chances, we had probably seven or eight good opportunities where we get in good positions to score goals.

"Twelve or 13 opportunities to score goals in a game is not a bad number. I fully believe that we were in the game. 1-0 down, we're in the game. Even at 2-0, you get an early goal back and goals change games."

Brown's post-match comments about the state of the EnviroVent Stadium pitch were more understandable.

The playing surface was badly cut-up before the players had even finished their warm-ups and both teams had had to contend with some serious bobbles.

"You come to Harrogate, the pitch is not a surface that you can play on," he added.

"It was always going to be about percentage football and dealing with their threat - they are very direct - and dealing with big [Mark] Beck up top, which we didn't do."

It was Beck who gave Town the lead within 30 seconds of kick-off, curling home a first-time, left-footed finish from Lloyd Kerry's pass into the penalty area.

Centre-half Will Smith doubled the hosts' advantage in first-half stoppage-time, strolling clean through on the Colchester goal and beating Shamal George with ease after the visiting defence switched off.

McPake then wrapped things up 10 minutes into the second period, shooting beyond George from the left side of the United box having been picked out by George Thomson.

Victory lifts Town up to 10th in the League Two standings, while Colchester - winless in 16 of their last 17 matches - remain 20th.