Dominant U’s win by two – but it could have been ten

COLCHESTER United beat Walsall by two but it is no exaggeration to say they could have reached double figures in a dominant display.

npower League One:

Colchester United 2-0 Walsall

COLCHESTER United beat Walsall by two but it is no exaggeration to say they could have reached double figures in a dominant display.

David Perkins fired home a loose ball from a corner in the 19th minute and David Mooney converted a penalty in the 55th minute.

Kayode Odejayi and Lloyd James were particularly outstanding for the hosts who hit the woodwork twice in the opening half and had three cleared off the line after the break.

It is only the second time this season the U’s have won by more than a single goal and is their first clean sheet in seven matches.

Most Read

The victory – their fourth in succession at The Weston Homes Community Stadium and ninth from their last 12 home games – lifts Colchester up a place to 10th in the table and closes the gap between them and the play-offs back to four points ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Peterborough.

The U’s came flying out of the blocks and had two glorious opportunities to break the deadlock in the opening four minutes.

First Ian Henderson stung the palms of keeper Jimmy Walker from close in after good build-up play, while a minute later Walsall defender Oliver Lancashire looped a header onto his own post from a James corner. David Mooney did well to get to the loose ball and pull it back but Kemi Izzet missed the target from a great position.

Walsall – who have been resurgent under new manager Dean Smith in recent weeks – came back into the match and twice they forced good saves out of keeper Ben Williams as he kept out good efforts from Alex Nicholls and Julian Gray.

At that stage it looked like the U’s might be punished for not taking their early chances just like at Notts County.

Colchester were able to open the scoring in the 19th minute though following some poor defending by the visitors. Striker Jonathan Macken made a hash of his clearance from a James corner under little pressure and Perkins was on hand to smash the loose ball home from just inside the box for his first goal of the season.

The U’s could have extended their lead three minutes later from yet another James corner as Kayode Odejayi sent a powerful back-header onto the crossbar.

Colchester pushed hard for a second and only a last-gasp touch from Darryl Westlake stopped Odejayi just as he was about to pull the trigger in the box.

Matt Heath then strode forward and smashed the ball into the net just after the half hour but the goal was ruled out as the defender had controlled the ball with his arm.

Henderson had another one-on-one saved in the 40th minute, while Aaron Lescott almost put past his own keeper with a comical air-kick just before the break.

Colchester resumed their dominance after the restart and came desperately close to adding to their lead in the 54th minute when Odejayi latched onto a fine Henderson through ball and rounded the keeper only to see his shot headed off the line by the backtracking Andy Butler.

It looked only a matter of time before the U’s would double their lead and that proved to be the case in the 55th minute when Henderson went down under the challenge of Richard Taundry in the box. The referee didn’t initially give the penalty but after consulting his flagging linseman awarded the spot-kick which Mooney cooly tucked away.

It should have been three for Colchester in the 62nd minute when Henderson allowed Jimmy Walker to save when it looked easier to score. Odejayi had done superbly to get to the by-line and pull the ball back and leave Henderson with the seemingly simple task of netting from six-yards out, however he didn’t quite catch his shot properly and Walker was able to fling himself in front of it.

It was one-way traffic and moments later Odejayi mis-controlled the ball just a yard out following Henderson’s pass, the striker seemingly expecting an offside flag which didn’t come.

By the time the 75th minute arrived it was no exaggeration to say that the U’s could have easily been in double figures, with Walsall twice more clearing off the line.

Matthew Gill bravely slid in to prevent James’ angled shot rolling inside the near post after he’d rounded the keeper in the 65th minute, while Butler also threw himself in front of a goalbound Mooney shot that had beaten the keeper in the 75th minute.

Colchester then comfortably saw out the closing stages as both sides used their maximum allowance of substitutes.

– Reaction to follow. Full match report and ratings in Monday’s EADT.

COLCHESTER UTD (4-4-2): Williams; White, Heath, Clarke, Coker; Henderson, Izzet (Bond 73), James, Perkins; Mooney (Vincent 85), Odejayi (Vilhjalmsson 81).

Unused Subs: Cousins, Beevers, Powell, Wordsworth.

WALSALL (4-4-2): Walker; Westlake, Lancashire, Butler, Lescott; Taundry, Gill (Marshall 73), Richards, Gray; Macken (Grigg 66), Nicholls (Price 61).

Unused Subs: Bevan, Williams, McDonald, Smith.

Booked: Richards (55).

U’s Man-of-the-Match: Lloyd James.

Attendance: 3,439

Referee: Mr M Russell

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter