Report: U's Spiral Out On Pens
KRBS Priestfield Stadium
01/09/2009 - 15:00
PENALTIES decided Colchester United`s Johnstone Paints Trophy first round match with Gillingham, at the Priestfield Stadium.
In caretaker manager Joe Dunne`s last game in charge, with the appointment of boss Aidy Boothroyd to be confirmed at lunchtime today, the U`s put in a battling performance but got edged out on penalties - after a 1-1 draw.
Returning loan duo John White and Matt Heath both started in Kent, while forgotten full-back Matt Lockwood was also handed a start. Loanee star Kevin Lisbie was rested, so Clive Platt, following a ban, partnered Scott Vernon up top.
The first save of the match was made by U`s stopper Mark Cousins, as the YTS product got down well to save Luke Rooney`s low drive.
Shortly later, the U`s broke away and player maker David Fox, attempted to feed the ball out wide, when perhaps an effort at goal may have came to more fruition.
Right-winger Ashley Vincent was having the better of full-back opponent Chris Palmer time-and-time again during the first period and his clever cross needed intervening, as Vernon prepared to pounce.
On twenty-two minutes midfield hard-man Kem Izzet was forced off with a back injury, giving highly-rated youngster Anthony Wordsworth a chance to impress in his preferred central-midfield position.
And Wordsworth came close to breaking the deadlock minutes after his introduction but his fierce free-kick was neatly saved by 'keeper Alan Julian.
As the U`s dominated, forward Vernon came close to connecting to another dangerous Vincent cross from the right wing.
With the halt-time break looming large, the U`s needed Cousins to be alert, as a Danny Jackman dead-ball caused trouble in the box.
HALF-TIME: Gillingham 0-0 Colchester
The first second-half chance fell to Gills man Andy Barcham but his goal-bound shot was well blocked by U`s centre-half Heath.
And U`s substitute Wordsworth, who seemed a class apart in midfield, fired in a low shot, and after the intervention of Vernon, the Gills stopper calmly collected.
Just after the hour mark, the Gills had a chance, as Barcham fed in striker Mark McCammon but his weak effort was easily saved by Cousins.
And a while later, after full-back White was penalised for a foul in the box, Gills substitute Simeon Jackson stepped up and scored the resulting spot-kick.
However, the U`s nearly forced an instant leveler, as experienced left-back Lockwood curled in a cross which was met by Vernon, who saw Julian deny his effort expertly.
Fellow forward Platt did bring the U`s level, on eighty-four minutes, heading home from close-range after Julian thwarted Vernon`s initial header.
U`s defender Heath almost snatched a later winner but his neat header went narrowly wide of the upright.
The home side did, however, have the game`s last chance but former U Garry Richard saw his header miss the target - so at 1-1, penalties were needed.
FULL-TIME: Gillingham 1-1 Colchester
And with the penalties level at 3-3, following a missed one from either side, David Perkins failed to convert for the U`s leaving McCammon to convent and send the U`s spiraling out.
The classy midfielder came off the subs' bench and begun to run the game, with some tidy passing. Could the U's have a ready-made replacement for Dead Hammond under their noses?
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