Ex-Owl Clinton Morrison blunts the Blades
Colchester United 1 Sheffield United 1
CLINTON Morrison silenced the Sheffield United faithful by rescuing a point for below-par Colchester United this afternoon.
The hosts were second best for most of the game, and were lucky to be only trailing to John Cofie’s 17th minute opener.
But ex-Sheffield Wednesday striker Morrison then struck with what was the U’s first shot on target, in the 73rd minute, to secure a third successive draw. It was the veteran front-runner’s first goal for the club.
Magnus Okuonghae helped on a corner and the alert Morrison was able to steer the ball beyond keeper Mark Howard from close in.
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Morrison celebrated by running the length of the pitch to cup a hand to his ear, in front of the Blades fans, who had jeered him all game for his former Owls connections.
Earlier, Cofie had blasted home a glorious long-range shot to give the Blades a deserved first-half lead.
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The impressive Cofie, on loan for the season from Manchester United, let fly from at least 25 yards out with a shot that soared over keeper Mark Cousins, before dipping under the bar.
But it was not enough to beat the U’s.
Manager John Ward named an unchanged starting line-up, for the third game running, following the back-to-back draws at Preston and against Portsmouth.
There were a couple of changes to the bench, however, with new signing Gavin Massey, recruited from Watford on a three-year deal on Tuesday, added to the squad.
Club captain Kem Izzet had also shrugged off a back problem to be named amongst the substitutes.
The U’s were very poor in the first period, and were very fortunate to only be trailing by the odd goal at the break.
Cofie netted the opener on 17 minutes, but he was guilty of missing a clear-cut chance to double the lead just after the half-hour mark.
Livewire Cofie looked certain to score from Kevin McDonald’s low cross, after the winger had rounded keeper Mark Cousins.
But he somehow managed to spoon his shot over the bar from six yards out, with an empty goal beckoning. Cousins was well out of position.
The U’s offered virtually nothing as an attacking force. They struggled to retain possession and were on the back foot for almost the whole of the first period.
Things didn’t improve at the start of the second half and Cousins had to be alert to keep out Nick Blackman’s close-range shot on 55 minutes.
Still the U’s could not muster a shot on target, even when Morrison raced onto Anthony Wordsworth’s fine through ball in the 70th minute. Morrison scuffed his shot disappointingly wide of target.
However, it all came right when Morrison grabbed the equaliser, just three minutes later.
And the hosts nearly stole all three points in the 84th minute, when substitute Andy Bond’s low drive struck the inside of the far post and rolled to safety. That was so nearly the winner.
COLCHESTER: Cousins, Wilson, Okuonghae, Heath, Rose, Bean, O’Toole (sub Bond, 47), Henderson, Wordsworth, Sears (sub Massey, 88), Morrison. Unused subs: Pentney, Duguid, Izzet, Eastman, White.
SHEFFIELD UNITED: Howard, Maguire, McMahon, Collins, Hill, Doyle, McDonald, McAllister, Quinn, Blackman, Cofie (sub Miller, 64). Unused subs: Long, Flynn, Harriott, Philliskirk, Ironside, Williams.
Referee: M G Sutton