Writer: StevieG Col U
Date:Saturday April 11 2009
11/04/2009 - 15:00
COLCHESTER UNITED were unlucky to lose 2-1 to Leyton Orient on Saturday afternoon.
The U`s failed to make their dominance count, especially in the first-half, despite going 1-0 up at the Matchroom Stadium. The match could have been over long before the half-time whistle was sounded.
Paul Lambert made four changes to the U`s starting XI, from last week`s defeat to Leeds United, David Perkins and Karl Hawley both failed to prove their fitness after picking up knocks so Simon Hackney and Ashley Vincent came in. Mark Yeates and Mark Cousins dropped to the bench, with Lewis Gobern and Dean Gerken also starting.
The first effort of the game was from O`s striker Simon Church, who headed over a ball in from the wing.
And as the U`s started to dictate possession, pacy front-runner Vincent calmly slotted the ball home, after latching on to a precise Hackney through-ball. The U`s player`s, and fan`s, joy was cut short after the assistant referee raised his flag for offside.
U`s stopper Gerken was called into action shortly later, first punching the ball away, before finding himself lucky not to concede after a penalty area mix-up.
The visitor`s attacking flare was causing Geraint Williams` side a number of problems throughout, with Vincent playing in the lively Gobern, who could only hit the side netting from a tight angle.
This time the U`s threat was from the left-hand side, with Hackney evading a number of challenges before firing a low shot straight at Jamie Jones.
On twenty-three minutes, Clive Platt rose highest to a corner but his header was comfortably cleared off the line by Paul Terry.
Next to go close to breaking the deadlock was Gobern; the on loan Wolves man strode clear of a number of Orient players and thundered in a wonderful long-range effort. As the ball looked set to nestle in the top corner, Jones somehow tipped the ball over with his fingertip.
The U`s dominance was finally rewarded, just before the interval, as Neal Trotman, Vincent and Platt all combined airily for the latter to nod the ball beyond Jones in the home goal. The strike was the big target-man`s 10th of the campaign.
Platt came close to a quick-fire brace but this time Jones matched his glanced header.
And with the half-time whistle set to blow, U`s centre-back Trotman was penalised for a soft foul just outside the area. O`s full-back Charlie Daniels then stepped up and drilled a fantastic shot beyond Gerken, from the resulting dead-ball.
The first chance of the second period saw ex-U`s man Scott McGleish force an impressive reaction save from Gerken in goal.
Five minutes later and Gerken was called upon once again, this time expertly clawing a header, towards his own goal, from Trotman, away from danger.
A number of U`s players thought they should have had a penalty, this coming after Captain Dean Hammond burst into the box and seemed to be dragged to the ground by an O`s defender.
The U`s came so close to leading once again as left-back Marc Tierney drilled in a thunderous 35 Yard pile-driver only for the ball to crash against the crossbar, with Jones struggling.
Shortly later, Yeates and Akanni-Sunday Wasiu were both introduced, with the tiring Gobern and Vincent making way.
U`s skipper Hammond came close next, driving the ball over from a neat lay-off after a fluent passing build-up.
In a game of great efforts, McGleish was next to try his luck, volleying a headed lay-off from distance, only for the ball cannon off the woodwork once again.
With ten minutes to go O`s midfield man Jimmy Smith latched on to a flick on, which Trotman and Alan Maybury failed to deal with and his looping shot evaded Gerken and went in at the far post.
And the U`s pressed forward looking for a late equaliser, with Hammond and Platt both failing to convert chances in the final minutes.
It was a game the U`s should have won but they somehow headed back up the A12 empty-handed and a game that perhaps encapsulated their season.
U's: Gerken, Maybury, Baldwin, Trotman, Tierney, Gobern (Yeates 66), Izzet, Hammond, Hackney (Wordsworth 76), Platt, Vincent (Wasiu 69).
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Date:Saturday April 11 2009
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