10-man U’s show character to earn precious point

Hartlepool United 0 Colchester United 0

TEN-man Colchester United defended like tigers to earn a precious point at lowly Hartlepool United tonight.

Jabo Ibehre was sent off for serious foul play, in the last minute of the first half, leaving the U’s with a mammoth task to hold on for a goalless draw during a backs-to-the-wall second period.

Sam Walker made several key saves, including a marvellous fingertip save to push Jonathan Frank’s rising shot onto his bar in the 70th minute.

But the Chelsea loanee was also well protected by his defence, and the gutsy U’s certainly deserved to hold on for a point.

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It was only the U’s second draw since Joe Dunne took over the managerial reins, in 30 games. The only other draw had been a 2-2 scoreline at Shrewsbury, way back on October 27.

And it was also the Essex club’s third clean-sheet on the bounce, pulling them a point further away from the relegation zone.

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Ibehre was flashed the red card, by referee Geoff Eltringham, for a high and rather reckless challenge on Pools right-back, Neil Austin, near the touch-line.

It was certainly an unnecessary lunge, but there didn’t appear to be any malice on the part of the U’s striker.

Even so, Ibehre is now facing up to a three-match suspension, and he left his.team-mates with a huge workload during the whole of the second half.

Thankfully, it was one they relished.

Manager Dunne will also be appealing Ibehre’s red card, before this Saturday’s home game against Crewe.

HARTLEOOL: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Walton (sub Sweeney, 90+2), Baldwin (sub Luscombe, 31), Humphreys, Franks (sub Howard, 80), Poole, Wyke. Unused subs: Monkhouse, Holden, James, McHugh.

COLCHESTER: Walker, Wilson, Okuonghae, Eastman, Garmston, Porter (sub Thompson, 75), Clifford (sub White, 81), Bond, Massey, Morrison (sub Ladapo, 66), Ibere. Unused subs: David Wright, Bean, Compton, Cousins.

Referee: Geoff Eltringham (County Durham)

Attendance: 3,148

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