Colchester United’s winning run ended by smash-and-grab Bury
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Colchester United 0 Bury 1
Colchester United suffered their first home league defeat for six months, after happy travellers Bury snatched victory at the Weston Homes Community Stadium this afternoon.
The U’s created a glut of chances, but were denied by a combination of some poor finishing, and also some wonderful saves by Rob Lainton.
The killer moment came in the 75th minute, and completely against the run of play, as Leon Clarke met Joe Riley’s deep cross with a clinical header which soared into the opposite corner of the net.
Clarke’s emphatic header made it 14 wins from Bury’s last 17 away games, with the other three drawn. In fact, David Flitcroft’s men have not lost on the road during 2015.
For the U’s, today’s narrow defeat ended a fine run of four straight victories.
It was a very subdued opening, perhaps surprising with two on-song teams on show. Bury, on a run of six straight wins, bossed the early possession but without either keeper having to make a serious save in the first quarter-of-an-hour.
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Shakers’ skipper Nathan Cameron had the game’s first half-chance, on 15 minutes, but the powerfully-built centre-half headed well over the top from a corner routine.
At the other end, a miscued cross from Gavin Massey was easily gobbled up at his near post by keeper Rob Lainton.
The U’s began to see more of the ball, midway through the first period, although patient build-ups ended with long-range shots from Joe Edwards and Marvin Sordell both flying well over the bar.
George Moncur registered the first shot on goal, from either side, in the 25th minute, although his low drive did not really trouble keeper Lainton.
But Lainton had to be at his very best to deny the U’s an opening goal on 26 minutes. Midfielder Edwards capped a surging run with a goal-bound shot that was superbly tipped around his post by Lainton, at full stretch.
Four minutes later and Lainton was in the thick of the action again, standing up well to punch away Moncur’s ferocious shot on the turn.
U’s keeper Jamies Jones needed treatment, to have a dislocated finger put back in by physio Tony Flynn, but he was hardly troubled by the visitors, safely gathering winger Hallam Hope’s angled shot on 33 minutes.
Sordell should have done better when blasting over the bar, from Owen Garvan’s pinpoint pass in the 37th minute. The ex-Burnley striker had scored from a similar position in the 2-0 win over Bradford in midweek.
The visitors struck the woodwork in the 42nd minute, as Chris Hussey’s curling free-kick clipped the top of Jones’ near post.
That was the closest either side came to a goal before half-time, although Sordell did lift another good opportunity over the bar just before the break.
After a quiet start to the second half, Sordell recorded his best shot of the afternoon in the 55th minute, his 20-yarder forcing Lainton to parry with strong hands.
A minute later and a delightful through ball by Matt Briggs set up the onrushing Moncur, although the ex-West Ham midfielder could not squeeze his shot past the advancing Lainton, who blocked with his body.
Lainton pulled off his third terrific save of the second half, on the hour mark.
A sweeping move featuring Callum Harriott and Sordell ended with Gavin Massey’s close-range shot being blocked at point blank rage by Bury’s busy custodian.
The U’s had appeals for a penalty turned down by referee Simon Hooper in the 70th minute, after Tosin Olufemi’s cross appeared to strike substitute Tom Pope on the hand.
But against the run of play, Bury took the lead with 15 minutes remaining, thanks to Leon Clarke’s clinical header, into the opposite corner of the net.
The U’s could find no way back into the game.
COLCHESTER: Jones, Olufemi (sub Porter, 87), Kent, Eastman, Briggs, Garvan, Edwards (sub Gilbey, 58), Moncur, Massey, Sordell, Harriott. Unused subs: Parish, Elokobi, Porter, Bonne, Sembie-Ferris, Ambrose.
BURY: Lainton, Riley, P Clarke, Cameron, Hussey, Hope (sub Pope, 46), Jones, Pugh, Soares, Mayor (sub Brown, 74), L Clarke. Unused subs: Ruddy, Foulds, Sedgwick, Rose.
Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)
Attendance: 4,032 (274 away fans)