Colchester United 1 Tranmere Rovers 2

Colchester United continued their slide down the League One table after suffering their second home defeat of the week, at the hands of Tranmere Rovers.

Colchester's inability to defend set pieces is costing them dear at the moment, and both goals in the 2-1 defeat came from corners.

High-flying Tranmere consolidated their position in the top six, and they took the lead in the 28th minute thanks to the third goal of the season for youngster Chris Dagnall.

A corner from Gareth Roberts was flicked on by defender Michael Jackson and Dagnall nipped in to prod home from eight yards out.

Colchester were poor in the first half, but they improved in the second, due to an inspired substitution of teenager Greg Halford replacing Gareth Williams in attack.

Halford, employed mainly as a right-back in the first team, relished his rare opportunity to operate as a striker and he rattled the bar within 10 minutes of his introduction following a header from Joe Keith's corner.

However, the Essex hosts could not find an equaliser and Tranmere dealt them a body blow by doubling their tally in the 81st minute.

Substitute Calvin Zola nodded home a corner delivered by Jason McAteer, the ball squeezing in at the near post.

There was hope for Colchester when danger man Halford pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute. Visiting keeper John Achterberg flapped at a free-kick from Kevin Watson and Halford headed into an unguarded net.

However, it was too little too late for Colchester, and Tranmere were denied a third in the last minute of normal time when substitute Paul Hall's shot struck the bar.

Colchester have now mustered just one point from their last four league games, and they are going in the wrong direction, but Tranmere are going from strength to strength.

In fact, this is Rovers' third away win on the trot following previous successes at Torquay and Huddersfield.