Fruitless long trip to Cumbria for under-achieving U’s
Carlisle United 1 Colchester United 0
COLCHESTER United suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time since August, after a fruitless 680-mile round trip to Carlisle.
Cumbrians skipper Paul Thirlwell rifled home his first goal of the season, on 22 minutes, to condemn the U’s to their fourth away defeat of the campaign.
The visitors were caught on the break, with Jon-Paul McGovern outwitting Magnus Okuonghae and releasing Lee Miller down the right.
Miller slid an inch-perfect pass through for an unmarked Thirlwell, who guided his shot beyond Ben Williams from 12 yards out.
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Colchester improved after a poor first-half showing, but they never seriously troubled home keeper Adam Collin.
Following on from the previous weekend’s 5-1 home defeat by MK Dons, the U’s are beginning to slip down the League One table.
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The U’s played with the strong, gusting wind at their backs during the first-half, but they didn’t make the most of this advantage.
In fact, John Ward’s men never recorded a shot on target in those disappointing first 45 minutes.
Ian Henderson did poke into the side-netting from an acute angle in the 34th minute, after keeper Adam Collin had punched a corner by Anthony Wordsworth off his goal-line, but that was the extent of United as an attacking force.
Carlisle looked far more threatening, and could have added to the lead handed to them by Thirlwell.
Ben Williams, playing his old club, denied the Cumbrians a second goal in the 26th minute, just four minutes after their opener. He arched back to divert Rory Loy’s rising shot over his bar.
Loy was threatening again before the interval, heading goalwards from Liam Noble’s cross. But the ball drifted wide, thanks to Brain Wilson’s intervention.
The U’s improved after the break, and they could have equalised in the 54th minute. Henderson pounced onto Ashley Vincent’s cross, but his goalbound shot was diverted wide by Matty Robson’s excellent last-ditch block.
Collin smothered a long-distance shot by Andy Bond, but otherwise Carlisle’s custodian enjoyed a quiet afternoon.
The U’s had a shout for a penalty in stoppage time, when substitute Casey Thomas’ cross appeared to brush the hand of Christian Ribeiro, but referee Mark Heywood was not convinced.
CARLISLE: Collin, Ribeiro, Murphy, Michalik, Robson, McGovern, Thirlwell, Noble (sub Zoko, 77), Berrett, Loy, Miller. Unused subs: Livesey, Taiwo, Curran, Gillespie.
COLCHESTER: Williams, Wilson, Okuonghae, Heath, Coker, Izzet, Bond (sub James, 73), Wordsworth, Vincent (sub White, 69), Odejayi, Henderson (sub Thomas, 88). Unused subs: Rose, Duguid.
Referee: Mr Mark Haywood (Cheshire)