Eighth league defeat on the trot for Colchester United
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Colchester United 0 Southend United 2
Goals by Colchester United old boys John White and David Mooney inflicted an eighth successive league defeat on the U’s, at a packed Weston Homes Community Stadium this afternoon.
Ex-U’s full-back White broke the deadlock in the 49th minute, before former U’s loanee striker Mooney added a second in the 73rd minute.
That was enough to secure the Essex bragging rights for visiting Southend, for a few months at least.
It was certainly not the way that new manager Kevin Keen would have liked to mark his first game in charge.
For the opening goal, the U’s failed to fully deal with an attacking throw-in, and White made them pay by swatting home a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
It was a clinical finish from the Southend skipper.
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Another former U’s old boy, Mooney, doubled the Shrimpers’ lead to seal victory.
Noel Hunt dispossessed George Elokobi in the middle of the park and released fellow striker Mooney. He coolly rounded keeper Elliot Parish to stroke into an unguarded net.
This was the U’s 11th defeat in their last 13 league games.
New boss Keen had made three changes to the side that suffered a 3-1 defeat at Rochdale last weekend.
Parish replaced Jamie Jones (returned to Preston at the end of his loan spell) in goal, while right-back Alex Wynter and right winger Darren Ambrose returned from injury, to replace Richard Brindley and Gavin Massey.
It was a bright start from the U’s, who earned a couple of corners during the first three minutes. The second of these, delivered by Ambrose, was headed over the bar by Chris Porter at the far post.
Ambrose came close to putting the U’s in front on six minutes. He burst onto Joe Edwards’ slick through ball, but screwed his shot wide with keeper Dan Bentley having advanced off his line.
From the U’s third corner, whipped over by Callum Harriott in the eighth minute, the ball skimmed off the header of defender George Elokobi and looped well wide.
Porter had a sight of goal in the 10th minute. He burst clear onto George Moncur’s well-weighted pass, but Bentley again surged off his line to smother at the feet of the U’s captain.
Southend did not threaten until the quarter-hour mark, when David Mooney’s speculative shot took a wicked deflection and would have looped high into the net, but for Parish’s finger-tip save.
A minute later and Bentley made a fine double save to deny the U’s. The Southend custodian dived to his right to keep out George Moncur’e 25-yard drive, and then recovered quickly to smother at the feet of the lurking Porter.
Moncur should have done better in the 18th minute. He managed to make room for himself inside the penalty area, with some neat control, only to scuff his final shot straight at Bentley, who saved with ease.
The U’s conceded a free-kick in a dangerous position in the 24th minute. Adam Barrett’s downward header, from Ben Coker’s delivery, was blocked in a congested six-yard box, as was Barrett’s follow-up shot.
Seven minutes later and the hosts threatened from a free-kick of their own, Tom Eastman heading narrowly over the top from Harriott’s cross.
In the last minute of the first half, Harriott swung over a teasing cross-field ball in the direction of Ambrose, but keeper Bentley was wise to it and intercepted in the nick of time, to ensure it was goalless at the interval.
But Southend took the lead, just four minutes into the second half, with Parish beaten by former U’s old boy White’s superb shot, from the edge of the box.
The visitors thought they had scored a second goal, on 53 minutes, but Mooney’s clinical shot was ruled out for offside.
It continued to be a frenetic, helter-skelter encounter, and Ambrose had an angled shot well saved by Bentley down at his near post on 67 minutes.
But Southend made the game safe, with Mooney doubling their lead on 73 minutes following a mistake by Elokobi.
Moncur flashed a shot across the goal and wide, on 84 minutes, and Bentley made a good late save from substitute Drey Wright, but there was no way back for Colchester.
COLCHESTER: Parish, Wynter, Eastman, Elokobi, Briggs, Gilbey, Edwards (sub Bonne, 72); Ambrose (sub Wright, 72), Moncur, Harriott (sub Massey, 86), Porter. Unused subs: Barnes, Kent, Brindley, Lapslie.
SOUTHEND: Bentley, White, Barrett, Thompson, Coker, Worrall, Atkinson, Leonard, Payne (sub Pigott, 82), Hunt (sub McLaughlin, 77), Mooney (sub Rea, 86). Unused subs: Smith, Prosser, Hurst, Deegan.
Referee: P Gibbs
Attendance: 9,222 (2,268 away fans)