Fulham’s under 23s were held to a goalless draw by a spirited Colchester United side in their latest Premier League Cup group fixture this evening.
Steve Wigley’s side, disrupted by several international call-ups, made much of the early running but were denied the advantage their enterprising play merited by a string of superb saves from Colchester goalkeeper Ted Collins. The U’s custodian used his feet to deny Jean-Pierre Tiehi after a quarter of an hour and then got fingertips to a low Sonny Hilton strike as the visitors threatened just before the interval. The hosts’ clearest opening came courtesy of Chay Cooper who latched onto a clever ball from Bryan Ifeanyi but shot wide of goal.
Fulham began the second period on the front foot with a brilliant sliding challenge from full back Emmanuel Martins preventing Hilton from converting Tiehi’s cross. Collins saved with his legs again to deny Kieron Bowie when the former Raith Rovers forward appeared poised to put the Londoners in front from another Tiehi cut back before Dibley-Dias, so impressive on his first start for the under 23s at Burnley last week, crashed a venomous drive against the crossbar from 25 yards.
Hilton hit the post with a low drive from distance and Tiehi nearly scored with the follow up, but Colchester weren’t clinging on for dear life by any means. The introduction of substitute Tom Stagg seemed to enliven the hosts as he came close to converting a dangerous cross from Al-Amin Kazeem and then saw a deflected shot drop just wide of the past. Fabri was called into action with five minutes to play as Dave Huzzey’s men finished strongly – the Spaniard palmed away a long-range drive from Martins – and Marley Miranda drove fractionally over deep into stoppage time.
The stalemate means Fulham remain top of Group H on seven points from three games, with the U’s in second place on five points.
COLCHESTER UNITED UNDER 23s (4-5-1): Collins; Kazeem, Martins, Cracknell, Beadle; Cornish, Miranda, Ifeanyi (Trialist 63), Cooper, Thomas; McCoulsky (Stagg 63). Subs (not used): Terry, Lowe, Johnson.
FULHAM UNDER 23s (4-2-3-1): Fabri; Williams (Tanton 69), Larkeche, Odutayo, C. Robinson; Pajaziti, Lanquedoc; Hilton, Dibley-Dias, Bowie; Tiehi. Subs (not used): McNally, McCoy-Splatt, Wildbore, Sanderson.
BOOKED: Larkeche, Bowie, Odutayo, Hilton.