Freddie Sears is spot on as U’s draw, again!
Colchester United 1 Hartlepool United 1
FREDDIE Sears rescued a point for draw specialists Colchester United via an 81st minute penalty against fellow mid-table outfit Hartlepool this afternoon.
The U’s seemed to be heading for what would have been only their fifth home league defeat of the season, when midfielder Antony Sweeney headed Pools into an early lead.
But John Ward’s men were handed a lifeline with just nine minutes remaining. Gavin Massey was upended in the box by Paul Murray, and Sears made no mistake from the spot.
The West Ham loanee tucked home his penalty, to the left of keeper Scott Flinders, to score his first goal for the U’s and his first goal for more than a year.
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It also stretched the U’s incredible run of draws to seven in their last eight games!
The U’s were very sluggish for the first half-hour, and they fell behind to Sweeney’s 17th minute opener.
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Left-back Horwood swung over a teasing cross from the left flank and Sweeney rose high to head into the bottom corner of the net.
It could have been worse for the home side, because Hartlepool striker Liam Noble spurned a good chance to double the lead in the 23rd minute. The Sunderland loanee scuffed his shot wide from Gary Liddle’s cross.
The U’s did not get going until the last 10 minutes of the second period.
Michael Rose’s goalbound free-kick was superbly turned around his post by keeper Scott Flinders, on 38 minutes, and Freddie Sears also had a shot blocked at point blank range by defender Sam Collins.
U’s boss Ward made a double change at half-time, in an effort to shake up his team. Kayode Odejayi and Martin Rowlands came on for Steven Gillespie and Ian Henderson.
The changes had a positive effect, with the U’s showing more as an attacking force, and Anthony Wordsworth hammered a volley straight at keeper Flinders on the hour mark.
The equaliser finally arrived in the 81st minute, via Sears’ penalty.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Williams, Wilson, Okuonghae, Eastman, Rose, Henderson (sub Rowlands, 46) Izzet, Wordsworth (sub Massey, 71), Duguid, Sears, Gillespie (sub Odejayi, 46). Unused subs: Bond, White.
HARTLEPOOL UNITED: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Baldwin, Horwood, Murray, Humphreys, Sweeney, Liddle, Monkhouse, Noble (sub James, 76). Unused subs: Boyd, Haslam, Rafferty, Rowbotham.
Referee: Pat Miller (Bedfordshire)