Colchester hold out for point at home
Colchester United 1 Leicester City 1JOHNNIE Jackson scored his first goal of the season to earn Colchester United a point in front of the Sky TV cameras in this tea-time kick-off.
By Carl Marston
Colchester United 1 Leicester City 1
JOHNNIE Jackson scored his first goal of the season to earn Colchester United a point in front of the Sky TV cameras in this tea-time kick-off.
Leicester City took the lead after just seven minutes, with Collins John benefiting from DJ Campbell's slick turn and cross to sweep home from close-in.
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But United struck on the stroke of half-time to poach the equaliser, thanks to Jackson's deft downward header from Mark Yeates' excellent delivery. It was the former Tottenham midfielder's third goal in a U's shirt.
Both sides cancelled each other out in a second-half of few chances, so the U's had to be content with their first draw in seven matches.
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There was a boost for United with Kevin Watson enjoying his first appearance of the season following Achilles tendon and calf injuries. He was the pick of the home team until his departure through cramp just after the hour mark.
Geraint Williams' men have another home game to look forward to against Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday evening.
Leicester had been playing well under caretaker boss Frank Burrows, and they were soon into their stride. Pat Baldwin was lucky to escape a booking after hacking down Campbell near the touch-line, and Kem Izzet then firmly headed away City's first corner of the game on five minutes.
The Foxes took the lead on seven minutes with JOHN on target from close-range. Campbell was the creator with a slick turn and low cross on the right edge of the penalty area. The U's defence was flat-footed, enabling John to sweep home from six yards out.
It was the Fulham loanee's second goal in a week, following his strike in the previous weekend's 2-0 home win over Barnsley.
The U's will have been disappointed to have conceded such a soft goal, in what had been a very scrappy start to the game.
Goalscorer John slumped to the ground as if he had been pole-axed in the 14th minute, and yet made a remarkably quick recovery to confront Izzet face-to-face, before then returning to the floor again when the physio arrived. Referee Andy Penn was tempted to book him for ungentlemanly conduct, but didn't produce the yellow card.
John nearly doubled Leicester's lead in the 23rd minute. He benefited from a mix-up between Gerken and Matthew Connolly, which left the U's keeper stranded. However, Connolly recovered in time to block-tackle John's shot, otherwise the ball would have rolled into an empty net.
Kevin Lisbie produced a good moment for the U's in the 32nd minute. He slipped beyond Patrick Kisnorbo and slammed in a shot that took a deflection as it rebounded behind for a corner. Jackson's ensuing delivery was comfortably caught by Fulop.
This was a good spell for the U's and Fulop had to react smartly to parry Granville's ferocious shot down at his near post. That was a shot out of the blue from the ex-Crystal Palace defender.
Yeates was instrumental in Colchester's equaliser, which came on the stroke of half-time via JACKSON'S first goal of the campaign.
Yeates delivered a wonderful teasing cross to the far post, where Jackson climbed high to head home inside the near post, even though keeper Fulop got his hands to the ball.
It was the perfect way to end the half for the U's, who had not really looked like fashioning an equaliser before Jackson's precise finish.
The U's were in the ascendancy at the start of the second-half and Yeates was not far adrift with a shot that curled wide following Lisbie's intelligent knock-down.
At the other end, Gerken raced to the edge of his penalty area to head bravely to safety, otherwise John would have fancied his chances of scoring his second goal.
Danger-man John sprung the offside trap with a cagey run into the box on 56 minutes. His low cross was aimed for team-mate Campbell, only for Baldwin to nip in and concede the corner with a terrific intervention. That could so easily have been an own goal.
And Baldwin came to his side's rescue again a minute later. This time Fryatt powered across the face of goal, before unleashing a low goal-bound drive that was diverted wide by Baldwin's outstretched boot.
Watson needed treatment for what looked like cramp in the 63rd minute, and took no further part in the game. The veteran midfielder had certainly impressed in his first outing of the season, and had hopefully not aggravated his calf problem.
Substitute Kevin McLeod came on for Watson, and Leicester also made a change at the same time with Carl Cort replacing goalscorer John up front.
Cort made an immediate impression. He was poised to meet Stearman's free-kick at the far post, only for Connolly to intercept with a wonderful headed clearance.
City threatened from the ensuing corner, and defender Bruno N'Gotty was in acres of space inside the penalty area before stabbing a shot wide of Gerken's near upright.
Gerken pulled off a good save to keep the U's on level terms in the 77th minute. Fryatt's cleanly-struck shot was well blocked by Gerken, and although he could not hold onto the ball, the onrushing Cort was standing in an offside position.
In the last minute of normal time, Yeates caused a stir with a strong run forward that ended with a crisp shot. Keeper Fulop was at full stretch to save low to his right. That was the last chance of the match.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken 7, Duguid 6, Baldwin 7, Connolly 7, Granville 7, Yeates 7, Watson 8 (sub McLeod, 63), Izzet 6, Jackson 7, Platt 6, Lisbie 6. Unused subs: Elokobi, Virgo, Balogh, Cousins.
LEICESTER CITY: Fullop 7, N'Gotty 7, Kisnorbo 6, McAuley 7, Stearman 8, Chambers 6, Kenton 6, Sheehan 7, Campbell 8 (sub Newton, 80), Fryatt 7, John 7 (sub Cort, 63). Unused: Henderson, Maybury, Sappleton.
Referee: Mr Andy Penn (West Midlands)