Dismal Colchester United slump to depressing defeat

Kurtis Guthrie

Kurtis Guthrie

Colchester United 0 Leyton Orient 3

Dismal Colchester United slumped to a heavy defeat at the hands of Leyton Orient, who had begun the day in the bottom two.

A double from Jay Simpson, sandwiching a goal early in the second half by Nicky Hunt, completed the rout..

Leyton Orient had lost seven of their previous eight matches, but they made short work of inflicting another damaging defeat on the U’s.

John McGreal’s men are now without a victory in 12 matches, in all competitions, and have failed to win in their last nine league fixtures, taking just four points from a possible 27.

That, I’m afraid, is relegation form.

Simpson celebrated his first goal of the season with a good finish, but it was a very poor goal for the U’s to concede.

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The ball seemed to ricochet off a hesitant Glen Kamara and Simpson swept the O’s ahead on 11 minutes.

The East Londoners doubled their lead, within the first minute of the second period. Sam Walker had little chance as right-back Hunt curled home a shot into the corner of the net.

The U’s had their chances, with Kurtis Guthrie missing two great opportunities from close range, either side of half-time.

But they were killed off by a second goal from Simpson, which stretched the O’s lead to 3-0 in the 67th minute. The striker’s 25-yarder flew like a bullet into the roof of the net.

The U’s had suffered a blow, even before a ball had been kicked, when club captain Luke Prosser was injured in the warm-up. His place was taken by Frankie Kent in the back four.

McGreal’s men did threaten first on nine minutes, when Macauley Bonne slid a pass through the onrushing Guthrie, but he was denied an opportunity to shoot by centre-half Tom Parkes’ last ditch tackle.

However, the O’s did score from their very first chance. The ball ricocheted off Kamara and the alert Simpson tucked home first goal of the season. It was a slick finish, but another soft goal for the U’s to concede in a frustrating season.

That opener arrived on 11 minutes, and the visitors very nearly doubled their lead just three minutes later, Walker diving to his left to prevent Simpson’s angled drive from sneaking into the net.

Brennan Dickenson, making a welcome return to the starting line-up after seven weeks out with a sore hamstring, whipped over a dangerous cross from the left on 22 minutes, but Parkes was again on hand to hook to safety.

The U’s started to boss possession, but without really hurting Orient, as was the case with Richard Brindley’s optimistic 25 yarder on the half-hour mark, which ballooned high and wide of target.

Visiting keeper Alex Cisak was not actually required to make a save until the 40th minute, when he caught a rather non-descript 20-yarder from Drey Wright, which was aimed straight at him.

The U’s switched systems for the remainder of the half, going from a 4-2-3-1 formation to three at the back, with Alex Wynter switching from left-back to sweeper.

In first-half stoppage time, Guthrie spurned a great chance to equalise when trying to bury Dickenson’s excellent cross. Guthrie’s half-hit shot struck the ground and flew over the bar, from close-in.

The O’s doubled their lead just 60 seconds into the second period, with right-back Hunt curling home a shot beyond the reach of Walker.

It was an awful way to start for the second half for the U’s, although they should have halved the deficit just two minutes later when Guthrie failed to find the target from just outside the six-yard box, with the goal beckoning from Dickenson’s penetrating cross.

In the 56th minute, the impressive Dickenson capped a powerful run down the left with a ferocious shot which flew menacingly over the bar.

U’s man-of-the-match Dickenson was in the action again, just after the hour mark, rifling in another angled thunderbolt which keeper Cisak did well to parry with strong hands.

The home side were getting up a head of steam, and substitute Craig Slater was not far adrift with a 20-yarder which soared a foot over the top in the 65th minute.

But they were stopped in their tracks by a wonder strike from Simpson, whose long-range shot flew into the roof of the net for the O’s third goal on 67 minutes.

It was very nearly 4-0 on 70 minutes. Ex-U’ winger Gavin Massey connected with a low drive which Walker only just managed to block.

Walker then pulled off a fantastic save to prevent Robbie Weit from notching a fourth goal. The acrobatic U’s keeper tipped Weir’s rising shot over the bar.

Squads

COLCHESTER: Walker, Brindley (sub Fosu, 69), Kent, Eastman, Wynter, Lapslie, Kamara (sub Slater, 54), Wright, Guthrie, Dickenson, Bonne (sub Johnstone, 54). Unused subs: Barnes, Sembie-Ferris, Szmodics, Dunne.

LEYTON ORIENT: Cisak, Hunt, Erichot, Parkes, Kennedy, Massey (sub Semedo, 80), Weir, Collins, Atangana, Simpson (susb McCallum, 84), Palmer (sub Adeboyejo, 90). Unused subs: Sargeant, Dunne, Pollock, Ochieng.

Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northants)

Attendance: 7,003 (1,122)

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