Comfortable win for Colchester
npower League One Colchester United 3 Tranmere Rovers 1 ANTHONY Wordsworth scored one and had a hand in two others as Colchester United did the damage in the first half against Tranmere.
It was from the left-sided forward’s corner that David Mooney eventually smashed home in the seventh minute, while the 21-year-old himself curled a trademark free-kick into the top corner just after the quarter hour mark.
The dominant hosts then added a third in the 31st minute when Wordsworth’s free-kick from the left was helped back across goal by Andy Bond for Magnus Okuonghae to head home his first goal for the club.
The U’s created a host of further chances after the break, but after Wordsworth saw a penalty saved by the keeper in the 80th minute Tranmere counter-attacked for Enoch Showunmi to score and add a slightly less reflective feel to the scoreline.
U’s boss John Ward made one enforced change to the side which drew 0-0 down at Southampton last weekend, Paul Reid replacing Pat Baldwin in defence after he was not passed fit following the ankle injury he sustained on the south coast.
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Injury-hit Tranmere were also forced to make one alteration to the side which gained a good 1-1 draw against Charlton, 17-year-old striker Dale Jennings handed his first start for the club due to an injury to Sammy Morrow.
The young and physical Merseysiders have blown hot and cold at the start of this season, but they were very mush the latter in the early stages of this match as Colchester stormed into a two-goal lead for the first time this season.
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The opener came in the seventh minute when Jennings’ attempted clearance from Wordsworth’s inswinging corner fell straight to the feet of David Perkins on the edge of the box and, after his shot hit the back of a defender, Mooney was on hand to take a touch and lash home the loose ball.
The lead could have been doubled in the 10th minute following another inswinging corner from Wordsworth. This time Reid’s powerful header was well-saved by the keeper and Ashley Vincent, having done superbly to control the loose ball, could only stab his stretching effort over the bar from close range.
With Vincent lying prone with an apparent knee injury, Colchester played on and doubled their advantage in the 16th minute. Marauding full-back John White was fouled on the right wing and, after a lengthy stoppage to attend to Vincent, Wordsworth curled the resulting free-kick into the top corner from 20 yards out.
When the U’s added a third in the 31st minute it was Wordsworth’s set-piece ability at the heart of things once again. His free-kick from the left was helped back across goal at the far post by an unmarked Bond for Okuonghae to head home his first goal for the club.
Tranmere did improve marginally after the restart, but it was Colchester who continued to provide the far greater goal threat.
Vincent fired an angled shot straight at the keeper on the angle following Marc Tierney’s neat through ball, while defender Ian Goodison had to be alert to cut out a dangerous Wordsworth low cross.
With the damage done and Tuesday night’s visit of Dagenham & Redbridge in mind, Colchester understandably took their foot off the gas slightly in the second half.
Mooney came off to standing ovation in the 75th minute following an excellent display and his replacement Kayode Odejayi almost created a fourth within seconds of his arrival when his low ball across the box was fired over the bar by Bond.
Colchester could have added gloss to their victory in the 80th minute when a penalty was awarded for Goodison’s push on Odejayi in the box. However, Wordsworth’s spot-kick was at a decent height and was saved by Hungarian keeper Peter Gulacsi.
Within a minute Tranmere had pulled one back in fortunate fashion when a challenge in midfield deflected away to put Showunmi through one-on-one and he slid the ball under the unfortunate Cousins.
Even then Odejayi missed a glorious chance to add a fourth in the 89th minute, his unconvincing one-on-one effort saved by the on-rushing keeper’s legs.
– Full match report and reaction in Monday’s EADT.
Colchester (4-3-3): Cousins; White, Tierney, Okuonghae, Reid; Izzet, Bond (I Henderson 82), Perkins; Vincent (L Henderson 67), Wordsworth, Mooney.
Unused Subs: Williams, Heath, James, Gillespie.
Booked: Odejayi (90).
Tranmere (4-3-3): Gulacsi; Blanchard, Cresswell, Grandisoin, Goodison; Welsh, Labadie, Mendy (Fraughan 62); Akins (Thomas-Moore 53), Jennings (McGurk 70), Showunmi.
Unused Subs: Collister, Cathalina, McLaren, Bakayogo.
Booked: Mendy (42), Blanchard (73), Goodison (80), Welsh (88).
U’s Man-of-the-Match: David Perkins
Referee: Mr P Crossley