Col U V Sunderland - Match Report
Shocked Sunderland Slain by Stunning Colchester
Colchester United (1) 3 Sunderland (0) 1
Attendance: 6, 042
Matt Calmus, Layer Road
"Up the U`s! Up the U`s!
Up the good old white 'n` blues,
When we get together what a game we`ll see,
We`re as strong as the old oak tree,
All for one, and one for all,
Were the football`s good and clean,
You can hear the crowd shout: 'Oi! We`ve got a team`
Up the U`s! Up the U`s! Up the U`s!"
Saturday 22nd April 2007
Brown, 45 (+3)
Cureton, (Pen) 89
Colchester United pulled off yet another shock result at Layer Road, this time against table-topping Sunderland, extending the best home record in the Championship and inflicting a first defeat of 2007 on Roy Keane`s mighty side.
After 14 wins and three draws leading up to this game, the Black Cats were favourites, where victory would have put them within a whisker of securing automatic promotion back to the Premiership at the first attempt.
Colchester, instead, secured victory, re-igniting the fire of a burning play-off ambition less than a year after ascending from League One. They took the lead through a Wayne Brown bullet header three minutes into first-half stoppage time.
The Essex side, now unbeaten in six, welcomed the goal from ever-present Brown, who has played every second of their maiden season in football`s second tier. The thunderous effort, his first in over a year, was too strong for 'keeper Darren Ward to save; Kevin Watson`s right-footed free kick provided the assist.
United played at times with a fluidity that has become their trademark this season and might have had the lead when lively Richard Garcia spun a backward header on goal, from twelve yards out.
Sunderland`s David Connelly, just before the Colchester opener, forced Dean Gerken to smartly tip the ball around his left post. That was after the Irish striker fashioned a seemingly perfect angle for himself apex of the area and the best chance before the deadlock broke.
The visitors came out on the attack after the interval, and scored a likely equaliser when Dwight York found himself in space after Darrel Murphy`s cross.
Dean Gerken could not keep out goal number 187 of York`s prolific English career, despite having make a superb save with his foot to deny Grant Ledbetter just seconds earlier.
That leveller then set up balanced the tie, but only on a knife edge, as Brown rose again at the other end when Watson delivered another promising set-piece.
His header, which might have been a carbon copy of the opening goal, bounced wide, much to the relief of Dean Whitehead, who conceded the foul.
The U`s continued to react well having lost a goal, creating another chance, this time for midfielder Kem Izzet. Had his volley opportunity on the edge of the box fallen to a more accurate shooter, such as Hogan Ephraim, Colchester might have restored the lead there and then.
Having said that, 19-yaer old Ephraim did seem to lack composure in the area and, after coming as first-half replacement for the injured Johnnie Jackson, spurred at least three realistic chances to score.
His technique, and high work rate, however, atoned for the mistakes; they were killer attributes as two home goals eventually sealed another historic win for the home side.
After good work to create the move by Ephraim, in a sweeping forward move that also involved excellent cameo-man Jamie Guy and Izzet, Richard Garcia made it advantage United.
The Australian winger, with an expertly taken lashed effort, found his seventh of the season, hitting the ball into the bottom-left corner of the goal, after setting himself with calmness 18-yards out.
With victory all but safe, Colchester added to their tally when Whitehead let frustration get the better of him by upending Jamie Cureton for an obvious penalty.
It was the experienced finisher, whose astute off-the-ball running throughout the tie merited a goal, taking the spot-kick; as he rattled home his 24th goal of the campaign, Cureton, with virtually the last action of the game, became the division`s leading marksman.