Boos for sorry U's

Colchester United 0 MK Dons 3LOWLY Colchester United were sunk by goals at the start and end of the game to suffer their first defeat at their new Community Stadium.

Carl Marston

Colchester United 0 MK Dons 3

LOWLY Colchester United were sunk by goals at the start and end of the game to suffer their first defeat at their new Community Stadium.

MK Dons striker Aaron Wilbraham broke the deadlock out of the blue after just 90 seconds, and substitute Sam Baldock made sure with two late goals.

It all added up to a dreadfully disappointing afternoon for Geraint Williams' men, who were booed off the pitch at the final whistle.

Ex-Hull City striker Wilbraham stunned the U's by clubbing a wonderful 25-yard strike past Dean Gerken. The U's still had 88 minutes to find an equaliser, but they found the Dons too tough a nut to crack.

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Mark Yeates hit the post with a free-kick in the 42nd minute, but the hosts lacked ideas after the break and Baldock struck twice during the dying minutes.

Baldock made the most of a mistake by Paul Reid to put the Dons 2-0 up in the 88th minute, and there was still time for Baldock to collect his second and the Dons third in the last minute of injury-time.

This result increases the pressure of manager Williams, who had rung the changes. In came striker Sunday-Akanni Wasiu and midfielder David Perkins for their U's full league debuts, while Chris Coyne was recalled to the heart of defence.

Both Wasiu and Perkins had started in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Millwall, but otherwise their appearances had been restricted to brings outings as substitutes. Scott Vernon and Anthony Wordsworth were the players to make way, although Vernon was named on the bench.

The Dons handed a debut to Canadian international striker Ali Gerba, but it was fellow front-man WILBRAHAM who was soon in the spotlight as he bagged the opening goal after just 90 seconds.

Wilbraham was standing 25 yards from goal when he suddenly let fly with a right-footed shot. It had both power and accuracy as the ball rocketed past Dean Gerken and into the bottom corner of the net.

The U's tried to respond quickly. Mark Yeates initial shot was blocked, and Perkins was preparing to off-load from the rebound when he was well tackled by the back-tracking Shaun Cummings.

Yeates fancied his chances from a free-kick in the ninth minute. The Dubliner's effort cannoned off Miguel Llera in the defensive wall and ballooned wide for a corner.

United were certainly looking determined. Yeates breezed past a few challenges, as did Clive Platt in the middle of the park, so enabling Johnnie Jackson to force his way into the box. Yet the Dons were still back in numbers and Dean Lewington was able to intervene and allow keeper Willy Gueret to smother.

Goalscorer Wilbraham nearly scored a second goal in the 13th minute. This time his low drive was blocked by his marker, Coyne, with Alan Navarro smashing the rebound well over the top.

Three minutes later and Gerken showed his authority by catching Leven's inswinging corner, despite heavy pressure from Dons attackers.

At the other end, United had half-hearted appeals for a penalty turned down when Kem Izzet's shot struck Navarro. Izzet believed that the ball had brushed the hand of the rival midfielder.

Gerken had been the busier of the two keepers during the first half-hour. Lewington sneaked a ball through to Shaun Cummings, and he nipped in front of Phil Ifil to roll in a shot from a narrow angle that Gerken collected down on his haunches.

There was a glimmer of hope for the U's in the 35th minute. Jackson sent Yeates scampering goalwards, but the Dubliner scooped his shot over the bar. He was standing in an offside position anyway.

Goalscorer Wilbraham was the first player to be booked, for catching Ifil late in the 37th minute.

Only the woodwork denied Colchester an equaliser in the 42nd minute. Yeates won the free-kick and then saw his effort from the set piece rattle Gueret's near post and drop behind for a goal-kick.

Wasiu should have scored in the first minute of stoppage time. Jackson's cross fell nicely for him, but the initial control off his chest was poor and Gueret was able to smother.

The half-time whistle was greeted by a chorus of boos from some of the home fans.

Half-time: Colchester United 0 MK Dons 1

The U's made a change for the start of the second period. On came substitute Medy Elito, in place of full-back John White. It meant a reshuffle with Jackson moving to left-back and Elito patrolling the right flank.

MK Dons thought they had doubled their lead in the 56th minute. Mark Wright robbed Elito and powered through the middle before slotting past the advancing Gerken. An unmarked Wilbraham swept into an empty net, only for the assistant referee to raise his flag for offside, against Wilbraham. In hindsight, Wright should have shot for goal himself.

Williams introduced his second substitute in the 63rd minute, with Scott Vernon replacing Wasiu up front.

But it was the Dons who continued to look the more menacing in attack. In fact, Leven's 68th minute corner should have led to a goal when Gerken made a mess of his punch. However, defender Sean O'Hanlon failed to convert from six yards out.

Two minutes later and the U's were breathing a sigh of relief again, as Wright was inches away from sweeping home Wilbraham's cross at the far post.

United made their third and final substitution with 14 minutes remaining. Dean Hammond came on for Izzet in central midfield.

But a mistake by Reid handed substitute BALDOCK a goal on a plate in the 88th minute to seal the Dons' away win.

A hesitant Reid failed to cut out a long ball forward and Baldock robbed him to coast through and slide past the advancing Gerken.

In the third and last minute of injury-time, BALDOCK was celebrating again when he bundled home a low cross from Wilbraham, with the U's defence again over-stretched.


COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken 6, White 5 (sub Elito, 46, 7), Coyne 5, Reid 5, Ifil 6, Yeates 7, Izzet 6 (sub Hammond, 76), PERKINS 7, Jackson 6, Platt 5, Wasiu 5 (sub Vernon, 63). Unused subs: Heath, Cousins.

MK Dons: Gueret 7, Regan 7, Llera 7, O'Hanlon 7, LEWINGTON 8, Wright 7, Navarro 7, Leven 7, Cummings 6, Wilbraham 7, Gerba 6 (sub Baldock, 72). Unused: Stirling, Johnson, Belson, Abbey.

Referee: Mr Trevor Kettle (Rutland)

Attendance: 4,888

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