Bonne celebrates 18th birthday with U’s winner
Colchester United 1 Peterborough 0
Macauley Bonne celebrated his 18th birthday with the winner against 10-man Peterborough United this afternoon.
It was a dream way for striker Bonne to mark his senior home debut – he had only been on the pitch for seven minutes, when he came up trumps with a 69th minute winner.
After a very even first half, during which Craig Eastmond struck the bar with a swerving shot on 44 minutes, Posh were reduced to 10 men following Lee Tomlin’s dismissal.
Midfielder Tomlin was shown the red card in the 53rd minute for appearing to catch Eastmond in the face with a flaying arm.
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And the U’s made them pay, thanks to Bonne’s exquisite finish in the 69th minute.
Bonne, on as a 62nd minute substitute, took just seven minutes to crown his home debut with a goal.
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He planted a header from Luke Garbutt’s cross into the roof of the net, and there was no way back for the high-flying visitors.
This was the U’s first victory in 12 league games, achieved against the odds.
The U’s suffered yet more injury woes before kick-off, with winger Gavin Massey breaking down again following his recent hamstring injury, while Jabo Ibehre failed a fitness test on a hip problem.
Injuries also ruled out the likes of Freddie Sears, David Wright, Tom Eastman, Josh Thompson, Tosin Olufemi, Drey Wright, Daniel Pappoe and Sanchez Watt.
There was a debut for centre-half Cian Bolger, following his loan switch from Championship club Bolton on Thursday.
Posh did not take long to get on top. Sam Walker dived to his right to smother a low drive by Tommy Rowe, who had scored in the 5-1 win here in the Capital One Cup in August.
The visitors also enjoyed a flurry of early corners. Defender Michael Bostwick headed wide from one delivery, while Walker safely gathered a downward, stooping header from Britt Assombalonga.
The U’s threatened on the counter-attack in the 11th minute. Elliot Lee, on his home debut, robbed Grant McCann and ran at the Posh defence before firing over the bar from the edge of the box.
Three minutes later and the U’s had another chance. Craig Eastmond had a sight of goal, from 10 yards out, only for keeper Bobby Olejnik to block with his legs.
Debutant Bolger was booked by referee Stuart Attewll for a late challenge on Assombalonga in the 19 minute, meaning the Bolton loanee was walking a tightrope for the rest of the match.
Posh had a great chance to break the deadlock on 28 minutes. Jack Payne was clean through on goal, following Paul Taylor’s pass, but he scooped his shot over the top with just Walker to beat.
Rowe looked odds-on to break the deadlock in the 33rd minute, but his goal-bound drive was superbly parried at point blank range by Walker. A last ditch challenge by Magnus Okuonghae prevented Gabriel Zakuani from burying the rebound.
But it was the U’s who came closest to scoring in the first half, via Eastmond’s swerving 18-yard shot which clipped the top of the bar.
Into the second period and livewire Lee worried both centre-halves, on the edge of the box, before failing to get enough power into his final shot. Olejnik saved low to his right.
Posh were reduced to 10 men in the 53rd minute. Tomlin was sent off, for seeming to catch Eastmond in the face with a flaying arm. The incident was spotted by the assistant referee.
Tomlin was furious with the decision, gesturing angrily towards the assistant referee as he stormed off the pitch. He also kicked over a case of water bottles in the technical area.
The red card appeared to spark Peterborough into life, and Assombalonga skipped his way into the six-yard box, before being stopped in his tracks by Bolger.
Tempers were frayed and when Rowe burst into the box, on 61 minutes, he was thwarted by a great tackle from Marcus Bean.
Rowe picked himself up and then took a tumble, while trying to pounce on the loose ball under a challenge by Walker. The midfielder, looking for a penalty, was duly booked for diving by referee Mr Attwell.
At the other end, Jeffrey Monakana made room for himself before blasting a 20-yarder narrowly off target in the 66th minute, and Olejnik then did well to catch a long-range shot by Lee.
However, the U’s were not to be denied and Bonne headed them in front, from Garbutt’s cross, with 21 minutes remaining.
Posh tried to find a late equaliser, but Walker caught Assombalonga’s 80th minute header.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Walker, Wilson, Okuonghae, Bolger, Garbutt, Eastmond, Bean, Gilbey, Morrison (sub Bonne, 62), Monakana (sub Dickson, 80), Lee (sub Szmodics, 68). Unused subs: Cousins, Bond, Ladapo, Spence.
PETERBOROUGH UNITED: Olejnik, Little, Zakuani (sub Barnett, 77), Bostwick, Ntlhe, McCann (sub Swanson, 77), Payne, Rowe, Tomlin, Taylor, Assombalonga. Unused subs: Day, Newell, Mendez-Laing, Brisley, Alcock.
Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)