Gallery: Henderson brace sets up big U’s win
Preston North End 2 Colchester United 4
Preston North End 2 Colchester United 4
COLCHESTER United made a dream start to their 2011-12 campaign by recording a big win at Preston this afternoon.
A brace from Ian Henderson, and one each from Anthony Wordsworth and Kayode Odejayi earned all three points for John Ward’s men in this opening day goal feast.
Wordsworth netted the U’s first goal of 2011-12 after just 12 minutes.
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Preston were caught cold by a quickly taken throw by Brian Wilson, which enabled an unmarked Wordsworth to cross into the danger zone.
The cross was only half-cleared and Kem Izzet headed back into the danger zone where the alert Wordsworth was able to tuck home a close-range shot low into the far corner of the net.
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It was Wordsworth who turned creator to put the U’s 2-0 up in the 48th minute. He slid a precision ball through for Henderson, who calmly rounded keeper Iain Turner to slot into an unguarded net.
Preston halved the deficit with Neil Mellor’s clinical 18-yard drive in the 59th minute, but the U’s restored their two-goal advantage just six minutes later thanks to Henderson’s second goal of the game.
Henderson scampered onto Odejayi’s powerful header to beat the advancing Turner with a super-confident finish from just outside the box.
But back came Preston, and Paul Coutts skipped past a couple of U’s challenges to smash home an unstoppable shot to reduce the U’s lead to 3-2 on 70 minutes.
Preston’s hopes were finally dashed by Kayode Odejayi notching the U’s fourth goal in the 75th minute. He reacted to steer home the rebound after keeper Turner had superbly kept out Matt Heath’s goalbound header.
That completed the scoring on a breathless afternoon in Lancashire.
The U’s handed a debut to summer signing Michael Rose at left back, but there was no place in the 16-man squad for fellow summer arrivals Karl Duguid and Tom Eastman.
Preston, relegated from the Championship last term, included all four of their main summer recruits in their line-up, in the shape of keeper Iain Turner, defenders Clarke Carlisle and Brian McLean, and veteran midfielder Graham Alexander (aged 39).
The U’s operated with just one man up front, in Odejayi, although he was ably supported from midfield by the attack-minded Wordsworth.
Preston actually dictated, before Wordsworth’s 12th minute goal, with keeper Mark Cousins having his work cut out to parry long-range shots from Paul Coutts and Alexander.
United’s quickly taken throw-in proved Preston’s downfall, with Wordsworth’s smart finish, and the home side did not threaten again until Hume scooped a shot wide from a narrow angle just before the half-hour mark.
The home fans became restless towards the end of the first half, prompted by a spate of misplaced passes in their own half, but the U’s could not take advantage.
The visitors’ attacks were few and far between, although in first-half stoppage time Ian Henderson did deliver a ball across the face of goal which just eluded Wordsworth at the far post.
Henderson ensured a great start to the second-half, by pouncing onto Wordsworth’s slick pass to sweep home the U’s second goal on 48 minutes.
Cousins protected that two-goal advantage two minutes later by getting his fingertips to Parry’s curling free-kick, to push the ball around the post.
But Cousins was powerless to prevent Mellor from slamming home Preston’s first goal of the season, just before the hour mark, although Henderson’s quickfire response restored the U’s healthy two-goal lead.
The goals continued to flow, with Preston winger Coutts and United striker Odejayi both scoring for their respective sides to make it 4-2 to the visitors.
Henderson was denied a hat-trick by keeper Turner in stoppage time, but this was a terrific start to the new season for the U’s
PRESTON: Turner, McLean, Carlisle, Morgan (sub Mayor, 82), Parry, Coutts, Alexander, Nicholson, Hume, Mellow, Proctor. Unused subs: Barton, Devine, Clucas, Arestidou.
COLCHESTER: Cousins, Wilson, Okuonghae, Heath, Rose, Izzet, O’Toole, Henderson, Wordsworth (sub White, 82), Vincent (sub James, 73), Odejayi. Unused subs: Baldwin, Gillespie, Coker.
Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)