League One
Colchester1Preston0

Colchester United 1-0 Preston North End

George Moncur
George Moncur scored his second goal in three matches

Preston missed out on automatic promotion after they suffered a narrow loss to Colchester, who clinched League One survival with their victory.

George Moncur slotted home from 12 yards after good work from Chris Porter, who had missed a penalty earlier in the half.

MK Dons' win over Yeovil means North End must settle for the play-offs, where they will face Chesterfield.

Preston have never gone up via the play-offs in nine previous attempts.

Simon Grayson's side had been in the top two since the start of March and had not lost in the league since 31 January.

But their 18-match unbeaten run in League One came to an end against a Colchester side that stayed up at the expense of Crawley, Notts County and Leyton Orient on the final day.

In a nervy first-half, both sides lacked an attacking edge and Preston centre-back Paul Huntington carved out the away side's best chance but failed to put enough power behind his header.

The hosts, knowing only a victory and other results going their way could help them stay in League One, were unlucky not to lead at the break as Jacob Murphy's attempted lob over keeper Sam Johnstone drifted wide.

However, 11 minutes into the second half, Colchester were gifted a lifeline as Johnstone brought down midfielder Moncur in the box, but Porter blazed his spot-kick over the bar.

Top scorer Joe Garner missed two great chances, first his header from Paul Gallagher's inch-perfect free-kick being deflected over before the 27-year-old nodded wide from just a couple of yards out.

And Preston were made to pay for their missed chances as Moncur and Porter combined to give Colchester the goal they required to secure their unlikely survival in the third tier for another season.

Colchester manager Tony Humes told BBC Essex:

"Credit to the players, they were brilliant against a really good team and it's just amazing. We just kept going and going, stuck to what we believed in and ultimately got the reward.

"I was surprised when the referee gave the penalty but the miss didn't prove important in the end. George Moncur has lots of quality and has that ability to stroke the ball into the net.

"We didn't get any notice of what was going on elsewhere until we scored and these players will only grow from this."

Jermaine Beckford
Jermaine Beckford celebrates after Colchester miss a penalty early in the second half...
David Fox
...but it was the Colchester players who were celebrating survival at full-time

Line-ups

Colchester

  • 1Walker
  • 31Brindley
  • 6Khumalo
  • 18EastmanBooked at 75mins
  • 15Briggs
  • 38Fox
  • 8GilbeySubstituted forSzmodicsat 80'minutes
  • 21MasseySubstituted forWynterat 90+1'minutes
  • 24Moncur
  • 25MurphySubstituted forSembie-Ferrisat 81'minutes
  • 42Porter

Substitutes

  • 2Wynter
  • 12Lewington
  • 19Healey
  • 27Bonne
  • 28Szmodics
  • 32Lapslie
  • 37Sembie-Ferris

Preston

  • 34JohnstoneBooked at 57mins
  • 5Clarke
  • 23Huntington
  • 6WrightBooked at 50mins
  • 3LairdSubstituted forDaviesat 86'minutes
  • 7HumphreySubstituted forRobinsonat 58'minutes
  • 24Johnson
  • 19Welsh
  • 12Gallagher
  • 10BeckfordSubstituted forEbanks-Blakeat 89'minutes
  • 14Garner

Substitutes

  • 4Wiseman
  • 8Kilkenny
  • 9Davies
  • 15Woods
  • 21Stuckmann
  • 27Robinson
  • 40Ebanks-Blake
Referee:
Keith Stroud
Attendance:
8,413

Match Stats

Home TeamColchesterAway TeamPreston
Possession
Home48%
Away52%
Shots
Home8
Away14
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home6
Away8
Fouls
Home9
Away8

Live Text

Match ends, Colchester United 1, Preston North End 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Colchester United 1, Preston North End 0.

George Moncur (Colchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by John Welsh (Preston North End).

Substitution

Substitution, Colchester United. Alex Wynter replaces Gavin Massey.

Attempt blocked. Dion Sembie-Ferris (Colchester United) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Sylvain Ebanks-Blake replaces Jermaine Beckford.

Corner, Colchester United. Conceded by Tom Clarke.

Corner, Colchester United. Conceded by Sam Johnstone.

Attempt saved. Sammie Szmodics (Colchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Kevin Davies replaces Scott Laird.

Foul by Chris Porter (Colchester United).

John Welsh (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Richard Brindley.

Foul by Tom Eastman (Colchester United).

Joe Garner (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Colchester United 1, Preston North End 0. George Moncur (Colchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Chris Porter.

Corner, Colchester United. Conceded by John Welsh.

Substitution

Substitution, Colchester United. Dion Sembie-Ferris replaces Jacob Murphy.

Substitution

Substitution, Colchester United. Sammie Szmodics replaces Alex Gilbey.

Attempt saved. Joe Garner (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Attempt missed. Joe Garner (Preston North End) header from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Richard Brindley.

Attempt blocked. Joe Garner (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box is blocked.

Booking

Tom Eastman (Colchester United) is shown the yellow card.

Hand ball by Tom Eastman (Colchester United).

Attempt missed. Callum Robinson (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

Foul by Richard Brindley (Colchester United).

Joe Garner (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. George Moncur (Colchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, Colchester United. Conceded by Sam Johnstone.

Attempt blocked. Paul Huntington (Preston North End) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Bongani Khumalo.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Tom Eastman.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Jacob Murphy.

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Chris Porter.

Foul by Alex Gilbey (Colchester United).

Joe Garner (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Daniel Johnson (Preston North End) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Preston North End. Callum Robinson replaces Chris Humphrey.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Bristol City462912596385899
2MK Dons4627109101445791
3Preston462514779403989
4Swindon4623101376571979
5Sheff Utd4619141366531371
6Chesterfield4619121568551369
7Bradford461714155555065
8Rochdale46196217266663
9Peterborough46189195356-363
10Fleetwood461712174952-363
11Barnsley461711186261162
12Gillingham461614166566-162
13Doncaster461613175862-461
14Walsall461417155054-459
15Oldham461415175467-1357
16Scunthorpe461414186275-1356
17Coventry461316174960-1155
18Port Vale46159225565-1054
19Colchester461410225877-1952
20Crewe461410224375-3252
21Notts County461214204563-1850
22Crawley461311225379-2650
23Leyton Orient461213215969-1049
24Yeovil461010263675-3940
View full League One table

Top Stories