Walsall 2 U's 0 - Report
14/02/2008 - 3:00
Jamie Guy missed two early chances to put Walsall out of this game long before Michael Ricketts scored an opener to send the home side on their way to a 2-0 win.
The young striker beat Scott Vernon to the first XI, making Saturday unbelievably only his second-ever start in a Colchester United shirt. He looked to have made the most of it within minutes of the game starting, when he broke free for a one-on-one against Saddlers` goalie, Clayton Ince, who managed a key save. That was after just sixty-two seconds.
Trinidad and Tobago international Ince also denied Guy once more, when the ball caught under the striker`s feet and was quickly smothered by the keeper. He was clear against ten minutes later, but a poor first touch again prevented Guy from breaking his scoring duck in U`s colours for this season. Before Guy`s second effort, however, Mark Yeates also cleared the crossbar with a twenty-yard free-kick shot.
Walsall scored first however, despite United`s concerted effort to bounce-back from a midweek defeat against Tranmere. Ricketts` twelfth goal of the season came against the run of possession as Sofiene Zaaboub scuffed his shot into the striker`s path.
Firm contact saw the ball hit the net, beating Jimmy Walker from six yards. U`s defender Marc Tierney, who let Walsall`s Alex Nichols begin the build-up, was at fault for the goal.
Walker was called into action on more occasions before Walsall`s in-form Troy Deeney latched onto a Ricketts assist for a headed finish, ensuring a conformable home victory. Walker previously saved from Zaaboub, also watching Stephen Hughes hit his upright. It was Deeney`s fifth goal inside seven matches.
U`s defender Paul Reid also had an effort ruled offside during the second half, after a move involving Tierney and Clive Platt.
Substitute Simon Hackney later failed to net, from six yards, with only Ince to beat in the final moments; meanwhile, Jamie Guy's promising showing was cut short after he exited the game becuase of minor facial bleeding.
Colchester's side, of two changes including Guy and the recalled Kem Izzet into the heart of midfield were powerless to prevent defeat. They must forget all negative talk, though, in this two-game slump, in preparation for the upcoming Essex derby against Southend.
U's: Walker, Maybury, Baldwin, Reid, Tierney, Yeates, Hammond, Izzet, Perkins, (Hackney, 63), Platt (Vernon, 63) Guy, (Gobern, 46)
The defender, the EADT agrees, was the man of the match; he had a goal disallowed, and has been very solid since his arrival in the summer. Played better than Jamie Guy, who was off at half time, but Mark Yeates was also busy once more. The U's need to show some form next weekend to claim bragging rights in the derby game.
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