Away misery continues for U’s

npower League One Notts County 2 Colchester Utd 0

COLCHESTER United’s away day misery continued with a limp two-goal defeat at relegation-battling Notts County.

A fine goal from Craig Westcarr and an unfortunate own goal from Nathan Clarke put the hosts 2-0 up at the break, a lead which remained largely untroubled throughout the second half.

The U’s have now gone eight away games without a win in all competitions. They have lost seven of them and have failed to score in the last six games on their travels.

By contrast this is struggling Notts County’s first win in seven and gives them a massive boost ahead of their FA Cup fourth round replay at Manchester City on Sunday.

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Colchester manager John Ward made four changes to his team following their 2-1 win over Swindon on Saturday – Clarke, John White, Ian Henderson and Kayode Odejayi replacing Pat Baldwin (achilles), Ben Coker, Kemi Izzet and Ashley Vincent (ill). Striker Steven Gillespie was also not in the squad due to a hamstring problem.

The muddy Meadow Lane pitch was not aided by a heavy downpour of rain before kick-off, but it did not prevent an entertaining end-to-end start to the match.

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David Mooney chipped just wide with a fine effort and Kayode Odejayi had a one-on-one saved in the opening 10 minutes, before U’s keeper Mark Cousins tipped over a Krystian Pearce header and palmed away a curling Kevin McDonald effort before the 20 minute mark.

It was only a matter of time before the deadlock was broken and it proved to be the Magpies as Craig Westcarr played a fantastic one-two with Alan Gow on the halfway line which split the U’s defence before the forward outstripped Lee Beevers for pace and then rounded the on-rushing Cousins to tap into an empty net after 21 minutes.

The game settled down somewhat after its frantic beginning before County doubled their lead thanks to an unfortunate own goal. Clifford’s corner into the six-yard box caused havoc and Cousins, attempting to punch clear, only succeeded in hitting the ball onto the back of defender Clarke’s head from close range to send it rebounding back into the net.

Ward changed his central midfield at the break, bringing on Kemi Izzet and Lloyd James for Anthony Wordsworth and Andy Bond and pushing David Perkins out onto the left.

The alterations did improve the visitors and Mooney spurned a golden chance to half the deficit five minutes following the restart, firing straight at the keeper from 12 yards out following a defensive error in the box.

However, although the U’s had far more possession in the second half, Notts County’s lead always looked comfortable.

Colchester’s evening was summed up by Odejayi’s miss in the 75th minute, the striker somehow missing from close-range after a smart bit of work in the box, while another late downpour summed up the mood.

– Reaction to follow. Full match report and ratings in tomorrow’s EADT.

NOTTS COUNTY (4-4-1-1): Nelson; Darby, Pearce, Edwards (cpt), Harley; Gow (Hawley 85), Clifford (Ravenhill 75), McDonald, Bishop; Westcarr; Hughes (Burgess 80).

Unused Subs: Burch, Lee, Thompson, Martin.

Booked: Hughes (64), Bishop (90).

COLCHESTER UTD (4-4-1-1): Cousins; Beevers, Clarke, Heath (cpt), White; Henderson (Vilhjalmsson 63), Bond (Izzet 46), Perkins, Wordsworth (James 46); Mooney; Odejayi.

Unused Subs: Williams, Powell, Bender, Coker.

Booked: Henderson (67).

U’s Man-of-the-Match: Lloyd James

Referee: Mr Colin Webster

Attendance: 4,041

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