Henderson wins it late on

npower League One Rochdale AFC 1 Colchester Utd 2 IAN Henderson scored six minutes from time to seal Colchester United’s first league win of season at Rochdale this afternoon.

Ironically, the U’s didn’t quite match the virtuoso performance levels of their opening two league games of the season but this time sealed the win courtesy of Henderson’s cool dink over the keeper late on.

Having ridden an early first half storm, Colchester produced a brilliant spell of football in the moments leading up the break and were unfortunate to only be 1-0 up at the interval courtesy of Andy Bond’s deflected 38th minute strike.

Newly-promoted Rochdale equalised within two minutes of the restart though when centre-back Craig Dawson hammered home from a Brian Barry-Murphy corner.

With both sides facing Premier League opposition away from home in the Carling Cup second round on Tuesday night – Colchester at Sunderland and Rochdale at Birmingham – the second half was played a much lower tempo.

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But with the U’s heading for a third successive league score draw, a goal was created out of nothing as David Mooney expertly controlled a long punt up field fro Magnus Okuonghae and slipped in the impressive Henderson to clip home the winner.

With both sides lining up with virtually identical 4-3-3 formations, it was Rochdale who who looked by far the more dangerous side in the opening exchanges.

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The hosts were clearly looking to exploit the attacking nature of the U’s full-backs as time and again wide strikers Chris O’Grady and Joe Thompson got in down the flanks.

Colchester were lucky to be level following a number of close shaves, but then suddenly – having barely been in the game – they clicked into place with a flurry of attacks around the half hour mark.

Mooney missed a glorious chance to break the deadlock in the 29th minute when, with plenty of time and space, he put a close range header over the bar following a fine Ian Henderson cross to the back post.

Two minutes later, Bond won the ball and broke free before slipping Henderson clear and the lively wideman was unfortunate to see his casual chip over the on-rushing keeper come back off the face of the bar.

The U’s continued to ramp up the pressure as half-time approached and it was Henderson again who was unfortunate to see a shot from the edge of the box clawed out the top left corner by the keeper.

At that moment it looked as though, just as Rochdale had done early on in the half, Colchester would fail to score when on top.

However, the breakthrough came in the 38th minute when Bond’s left-footed strike from just outside the area deflected off a defender and into the left side of the net.

The bouyant U’s pressed for a second before the interval and they almost got it when a mix-up between keeper Josh Lillis and defender Marcus Holness saw the ball fly loose near goal, however agonisingly it would not sit down in time for the lurking Mooney to capitalise.

Having emerged from that storm with just a one goal deficit, Rochdale found an equaliser less than two minutes after the restart. Brian Barry-Murphy whipped in a wicked in-swinging corner from the left and centre-back Dawson was allowed a clear run through a crowded box to smash home on the half-volley from just six yards out.

Rochdale boss Keith Hill made a double change to his forward line after 58 minutes bringing on Manchester City loanee Andrew Tutte and John-Louis Akpa Akpro.

And the latter made an immediate impact, curling his first touch onto the bar from the left-hand side following a slip by Wilson before firing fiercely into the side-netting nine minutes later.

A flat second half looked to be petering out to a third successive score draw for the U’s until the visitors created a goal from nothing. Mooney killed Magnus Okuonghae’s long ball ball forward dead at his feet, held it up before sliding in the on-rushing Henderson who cooly dinked the ball over the keeper.

Bond was denied a strong penalty shout late on, but it didn’t matter as the U’s sealed their first three points of the campaign.

- Reaction to follow.

ROCHDALE: Lillis; Wiseman, Widdowson, Holness, Dawson; Barry-Murphy, Kennedy (Redshaw 85), Jones; Thompson (Tutte 58), Elding (Akpa Akpro 58), O’Grady.

Unused Subs: Edwards, Done, Goodall, Andre.

COLCHESTER: Cousins; Wilson, Tierney, Reid (Baldwin 81), Okuonghae; Bond, Izzet, Perkins (Beevers 79); Henderson, Wordsworth, Mooney (Odejayi 87).

Unused Subs: Beevers, Vincent, White, James, Pentney.

U’s Man-of-the-Match: Ian Henderson

Attendance: 3,016

Referee: Mr Nigel Miller (County Durham)

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