'I'm no cheat,' says former U's star

FORMER Colchester United striker, Chris Iwelumo, insisted that he was no “cheat” after his role in Matthew Connolly's sending off during a pulsating 2-2 draw at Layer Road on Saturday.

By Carl Marston

FORMER Colchester United striker, Chris Iwelumo, insisted that he was no “cheat” after his role in Matthew Connolly's sending off during a pulsating 2-2 draw at Layer Road on Saturday.

The U's looked to be on course for a first home victory of the season, over star-studded Charlton, when they were reduced to 10 men on 55 minutes.

Addicks front-man Iwelumo was brought crashing to the ground by Connolly's last-ditch challenge, and although referee Mike Russell initially waved play on, he changed his mind when spotting his assistant referee's raised flag.


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“I didn't dive. I never dive as a player. I was caught by the defender,” insisted Iwelumo, who left the U's over the summer following two terrific seasons at Layer Road.

“I was delighted to get a good reception from the home fans. I had two fantastic seasons with Colchester, but the fact that they later got on my back is part-and-parcel of football.

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“It was disappointing that they were calling me a “cheat” after the sending-off, but you have to take it on the chin. I wanted to score, so there was no point in me diving.

“To be honest, I thought that the referee just made the decision himself. I didn't realise that it was the linesman who changed his mind.

“I was looking forward to coming back to Colchester. They were always strong at home during my time there, and they showed that again in this match. Our manager (Alan Pardew) called us “sloppy” at half-time.

“We have such good players at Charlton that we should be coming to Layer Road to dominate, but Colchester were fantastic again,” added Iwelumo.

The U's scored twice in a six-minute spell, through Mark Yeates and Charlton old boy Kevin Lisbie on 32 and 38 minutes respectively, only for Iwelumo to knock-down for Svetoslav Todorvo to halve the deficit on the stroke of half-time.

And following Connolly's dismissal, Chinese attacker Zheng Zhi grabbed a 73rd minute equaliser for the Londoners. It was rough luck on the U's.

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