Writer: StevieG Col U
Date:Sunday August 23 2009
22/08/2009 - 15:00
GOALS IN either half from MK Dons condemned Colchester United to their first League defeat of the season.
A Jermaine Easter penalty and a tidy finish from Mark Carrington had given the hosts a two goal lead, but a spirited second-half fight back from Joe Dunne`s side, which saw Scott Vernon give the U`s hope, ended in disappointment.
Dunne, who was placed in temporary charge on Tuesday, named an unchanged starting XI from the midweek victory over Gillingham, as the U`s looked to make it four straight wins.
The U`s started with the upper-foot, keeping possession well, without, however, troubling the Dons backline in the opening period.
Home forward Jemal Johnson had the game`s first goal-bound effort, sending a right-footed shoot beyond Ben William`s upright.
The U`s had their first real chances moments later, playmaker David Fox combined well with the in-form Scott Vernon, but the latter scuffed his shot wide after having his initial effort blocked.
Right-sided winger Ashley Vincent then sent in a cross which skipped across goal to the far post for Simon Hackney to collect, but the ball was quickly stolen from him as he prepared to unleash a shot.
And on twenty-two minutes the opening goal of the game arrived, as referee Keith Stroud awarded the Dons a penalty, following an incident involving Easter and a U`s player, despite Johnson firing home after the whistle had blown. Easter, who was ironically on loan at the Community Stadium last season, and was thought to be a summer transfer target, stepped up and calmly stroked the ball into the net. Goalkeeper Williams chose right but couldn`t quite get a hand to the ball.
Shortly after and the U`s suffered more problems, as right-back Lee Beevers was forced off, due to injury, bringing Alan Maybury into the fray.
Dons` stopper Willy Gueret needed to be alert minutes later, palming away a dangerous free-kick from under the noses of a number of U`s players.
Ten minutes before the interval and the U`s came close to drawing level, as on-loan striker Kevin Lisbie and Fox put together a chance for Vincent - who fired wide of the target.
In a lively period of play, Williams, in the U`s goal, smothered Easter`s effort after he broke through one-on-one with the former Carlisle stopper.
Williams was on hand to keep the Don`s advantage to one goal again minutes later, as he magnificently tipped Magnus Okuonghae`s goal-bound miscued clearance away from danger.
But the U`s came close to going into the break on level terms, with Vincent and Vernon both having chances which they failed to capitalise on.
Half-time: MK Dons 1-0 U`s
Early in the second-half, winger Jason Puncheon came close to making it two, but the Dons` man failed to connect when closing in on goal.
Four minutes later and the U`s did fall two-behind, following a defensive error from man-mountain Okuonghae, Carrington burst through, and after rounding 'keeper Williams, he slotted into an empty net.
Vincent, after being set-up by Lisbie, nearly replied instantly, but had the ball taken from his feet when about to pull the trigger.
In a tactical switch by Dunne, a U`s legend, the Essex side pushed into an attacking 4-3-3 formation - as they went all out for a goal!
Pacy U`s attacking trio Lisbie, Vernon and Vincent were causing the home side problems, going close on a number of occasions.
And the U`s did get their reward on sixty-nine minutes, a pin-point cross from Fox, on the right wing, was met by the head of Vernon, who neatly guided the ball home from inside the penalty box. Game on. The strike was Vernon`s third of the season, impressive for a man, admired by the fans, for forcing his way back into the side following signs his U`s career was over.
The U`s went looking for an equaliser and Fox, flourishing since his summer switch from Blackpool, drove a low shoot narrowly wide of Gueret`s post.
And Vincent was well denied moments later, as Gueret rushed off his line to save at the winger`s feet.
Midfield hard-man Kem Izzet, drafted in to the U`s side following Dean Hammond`s move away, was next to have an effort at goal, but unrenowned for his goal-scoring ability, Izzet blasted over from Marc Tierney`s lay-off.
Substitute David Perkins, who has asked for a move away, then set-up Lisbie, but his headed effort went high over the bar.
As the Dons held on for all three-points, on the evidence of the U`s performance, the player`s effort or fight cannot be questioned following Paul Lambert`s shock resignation.
U's: Williams, Beevers (Maybury), Baldwin, Okuonghae, Tierney, Vincent, Izzet, Fox, Hackney (Perkins), Vernon (Thomas), Lisbie.
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