Battling U’s earn fine point at Huddersfield

npower League One Huddersfield Town 0 Colchester Utd 0

COLCHESTER United dug deep to earn an excellent goalless draw at high-flying Huddersfield this afternoon – a fantastic save in stoppage time denying them a dramatic smash and grab raid.

The Terriers controlled possession throughout and had numerous chances to break the deadlock, however the U’s worked their socks off to keep a clean sheet and also had keeper Ben Williams to thank for two acrobatic second half saves.

Indeed, Colchester could have actually taken all three points at the death had keeper Ian Bennett not made a world-class diving stop to his right to keep out substitute Kayode Odejayi’s well-directed header.

U’s boss John Ward has stuck with the same team which started the 2-1 win over Bournemouth last Friday for today’s League One match at high-flying Huddersfield.

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Meanwhile, Huddersfield manager Lee Clark made three changes to his side following his side’s 4-0 defeat at Carlisle on Tuesday night in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. In came duo Gary Roberts and Alan Lee, the latter partnering another former Portman Road player in Jordan Rhodes up front.

Huddersfield – who came into this match second in the table having won their last three league games – have enjoyed the better of the play in the opening half.

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Winning more of the 50/50 balls and aerial battles, the home side have looked a threat throughout.

Right-winger Anthony Pilkington would have been in on goal in the seventh minute had his last touch not let him down, while towering defender Jamie McCombe sent a header straight at the keeper in the 21st minute following Pilkington’s crossed free-kick.

Rhodes’ glanced volley also went safely into Ben Williams’ arms in the 33rd minute, while the he also blazed over the bar five minutes later following good build-up. The former Ipswich man was stretchered off after that chance having injured himself in the process of shooting.

By contrast, Colchester have been limited to a handful of half-chances on the counter-attack. Lee Beevers’ low cross was spilt by the keeper in the 19th minute but David Mooney wasn’t quick enough to the rebound, while both David Mooney and Andy Bond have been crowded out in good positions.

Huddersfield maintained their momentum at the start of the second half and should have taken the lead in the 53rd minute when substitute Lee Novak side-footed wide from eight yards out following good build-up involving Lee and Roberts.

Colchester continued to look for counter-attack chances though and Mooney clipped the top of the bar two minutes later following a fine low pass into the area from the impressive Ben Coker.

It was the hosts who looked far more like scoring though and they created their two best chances of the match just before the hour mark.

First defender Peter Clarke saw a header blocked on the line, while four minutes later Williams produced an acrobatic save after centre-back McCombe’s downward header from a corner had bounced down into the ground and up towards the roof of the net.

The chances continued to come for Huddersfield as Roberts headed wide from Kevin Kilbane’s cross, but the hard-working U’s were standing up well to the balls being thrown into their box.

U’s boss Ward brought on Kayode Odejayi for Vincent with little under 20 minutes to go and the big striker almost made an immediate impact when looping a header over the bar.

The home support continued to roar their side forward though and U’s keeper Williams once again acrobatically tipped over in the 75th minute, this time from a Joey Gudjonsson free-kick.

Colchester seemed to come to life in the closing stages though and, for a 10 minute spell, exerted some pressure of their own.

And they could have won it late on twice through sub Odejayi. First the big striker saw a one-on-one chance well smothered by keeper Bennett, before the keeper again denied him in stoppage time with a brilliant reactionary save.

– Reaction to follow.

HUDDERSFIELD (4-4-2): Bennett 8; Peltier 7, Kilbane 7, McCombe 6, P Clarke 7; Pilkington 8, Roberts 7 (Hunt 85), Gudjonsson 6, Arfield 6; Rhodes 6 (Novak 40, 6), Lee 7.

Unused Subs: Colgan, N Clarke, T Clarke, Atkinson, Kay.

COLCHESTER UTD (4-3-3): Williams 8; Beevers 7 (White 76, 6), Coker 8, Baldwin 7, Heath 7; Izzet 6, Bond 6, Perkins 6; Vincent 5 (Odejayi 71, 8), Wordsworth 5, Mooney 7 (James 86).

Unused Subs: Cousins, Henderson, Vilhjamsson, Gillespie.

Booked: Beevers (68), Perkins (88), Wordsworth (90+).

U’s Man-of-the-Match: Ben Coker

Attendance: 12,689

Referee: Mr Gavin Ward (Surrey)

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