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Colchester’s spirit cheers boss Matt Bloomfield

Matt Bloomfield was pleased with his team’s fightback (PA)
Matt Bloomfield was pleased with his team’s fightback (PA)

Matt Bloomfield was proud of his Colchester players after they battled back to secure a 1-1 draw against promotion-chasing Salford in Sky Bet League Two.

The Ammies took a 49th-minute lead through Conor McAleny, who nodded in from close range from Ryan Watson’s assist after Theo Vassell’s header from a corner had struck the crossbar.

However, substitute Fiacre Kelleher rose to head home Luke Chambers’ cross in the 63rd minute to rescue a point for hosts Colchester.

Bloomfield said: “I was really proud of the way the boys played.

“I thought we were all right in the first half. There wasn’t much in the game, they had a lot of possession and maybe we wanted a little bit more but also we didn’t want to be too kamikaze and give them a leg up.

“It obviously wasn’t ideal going behind so soon after half-time to a set-piece, which we’ll work on, but I think I have to say I’m proud of the response from the boys.

“The way we played and passed the ball and the way we took the game to Salford, pressed them a little bit higher and showed some real courage to take possession of the football, which I was really pleased about.

“I stand here with a feeling of pride and of what could have been, as I really felt we could have got a winner at the end.”

Salford had edged a goalless first half, with Colchester goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara denying Matt Smith early on.

But after Kelleher’s equaliser, the hosts looked the more likely of the two sides to score a winner.

Arthur Read’s long-range effort was saved by goalkeeper Alex Cairns, who also brilliantly denied Cole Skuse in the closing stages.

Salford boss Neil Wood said: “We’re a bit disappointed with only a point.

“It’s a difficult game; you come to a team who are desperate to win and they’re not going to make it easy for us.

“But we’re disappointed because we didn’t feel like we were at it or that we performed as we have been performing.

“The lads were disappointed at half-time and felt they weren’t playing at the right speed or moving the ball quickly enough.

“We addressed that and I thought we started the second half really well and scored but we then conceded a poor goal.

“I don’t know if it was meant but there was a bit of luck involved in that goal.

“We were a little bit under the cosh after that.

“We’ll take the point; we’re happy it wasn’t a defeat but we want to win every game.

“We’re disappointed we’ve not come away with three points.”