Colchester United stop the rot at home with a precious win

Colchester United 2 Leyton Orient 0

Colchester United ended their home hoodoo by beating fellow strugglers Leyton Orient at the Weston Homes Community Stadium this afternoon.

Goals from Gavin Massey and Kaspars Gorkss chalked up only the U’s third home league victory of the campaign, at the same time halting a run of five straight home league defeats.

Massey broke the deadlock in the 14th minute. Debutant Chris Porter helped on Sean Clohessy’s cross, and Massey connected with a first-time shot that flew low into the net from eight yards out.

The U’s doubled their lead just three minutes into the second half, thanks to Gorkss’ first goal for the club.

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Latvian international Gorkss rose unmarked to send a glancing header soaring into the far corner of the net, from David Fox’s precision corner.

Elliott Hewitt was sent off with seven minutes remaining, a straight red for a late lunge on Romain Vincelot, but the U’s held on for the win.

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As a result, the U’s have leapfrogged the O’s in the League One table.

New signings Porter, recruited from Sheffield United, and Matt Briggs, on loan from Millwall, were both making their U’s debuts.

Briggs was operating as a left-back, with Porter leading the front-line.

The U’s other new signing, Ipswich Town loanee Jack Marriott, was on the bench.

It was also a big day for youngster Tom Lapslie, who was handed a surprise full senior debut, in preference to George Moncur in central midfield.

The U’s started brightly, and Gavin Massey latched onto Sean Clohessy’s cross inside the box on three minutes,. His low cross into the danger zone was scrambled away.

Three minutes later and Sammie Szmodics caused a stir with a bustling run down the right, whipping over a low cross for the onrushing Porter, although keeper Gary Woods was able to smother the ex-Sheffield United striker’s close-range effort.

Porter was in the action again when winning a header in the air, from a free-kick. Tom Eastman stabbed goalwards, but the ball was blocked on the edge of the six-yard.

However, the U’s did take the lead in the 14th minute, via Massey’s smart finish from eight yards out. It was no more than the hosts deserved, for such a lively opening.

Orient threatened an equaliser in the 21st minute. Winger Ryan Hedges, on loan from Swansea, crashed in a rather optimistic low shot, from which Eastman completely missed his kick, although the alert Sam Walker was able to save on his goal-line.

A minute later and Walker had to stretch high to his right to keep out another effort from Hedges.

David Mooney spurned a good chance for the visitors in the 27th minute. The former U’s loanee had just Walker to beat, after a defensive mix-up between Kaspars Gorkss and Briggs, but he dragged his shot wide of the far upright.

The U’s were forced to soak up the pressure before the break, with the Os encamped in the home half for large periods.

It needed a terrific last ditch tackle by David Fox to deny Chris Dagnall a shooting chance in the 42nd minute, and just seconds later Eastman did well to cut out a dangerous cross by Neal Eardley.

The O’s also had appeals for a penalty turned down, when Fox appeared to handle in the box, in first-half stoppage time.

But the U’s hung on until half-time, and then took the lead just three minutes into the second period through a sweet header by Gorkss.

And it was so nearly 3-0 on 50 minutes, when Porter chased onto Hewitt’s through ball and managed to get past the onrushing Woods. However, with an empty net beckoning, Porter was quickly closed down by defender Nathan Clarke, who deflected the final shot wide of goal.

The O’s were appealing for a penalty on the hour mark, when Dean Cox’s thunderbolt was diverted wide – perhaps off a stray hand – but referee Mark Heywood was not convinced.

The visitors did have the ball in the back of the net in the 69th minute, when Dagnall headed home Cox’s corner. However, their celebrations were caught short by an offside flag.

The U’s were reduced to 10 men in the 83rd minute, with Hewitt sent off for a late challenge on Vincelot, and Walker then saved well from John Lunstram late on.


COLCHESTER: Walker, Clohessy, Eastman, Gorkss, Briggs, Fox, Lapslie, Szmodics (sub Moncur, 83), Hewitt, Porter (sub Bonne, 90+2), Massey (sub Gordon, 85). Unused subs: Lewington, Watt, Marriott, Sembie-Ferris.

LEYTON ORIENT: Woods, Eardley, Lowry, Clarke, Sawyer (sub Dossena, 87), Hedges (sub Pritchard, 85), Lundstram, Vincelot, Cox, Mooney (sub Plasmati, 64), Dagnall. Unused subs: Omozusi, Lee, Wright, Grainger.

Referee: Mark Heywood (Cheshire)

Attendance: 5,668

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