Ian Henderson’s early goal earns a deserved draw
Colchester United 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1
COLCHESTER United held third-placed Sheffield Wednesday to a deserved draw in front of their biggest home crowd of the season at the Weston Homes Community Stadium this afternoon.
Ian Henderson broke the deadlock as early as the third minute, and the U’s were good value for their half-time lead.
Wednesday, who had won eight of their previous 10 games, did equalise in the 52nd minute, thanks to defender Miguel Angel Llera’s close range effort from Chris Lines’ free-kick.
But it would have been harsh on John Ward’s men if they had not held on for a point.
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The U’s have now failed to win any of their last 10 games, but they more than matched their lofty opponents, in front of an attendance of 6,643.
They have now taken points off all four of the top clubs this season – Charlton, Sheffield United, Huddersfield and Wednesday.
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The Blades’ home win over Leyton Orient has opened up a four-point gap between themselves and their Sheffield rivals.
The Owls were caught cold by Henderson’s quickfire opener.
Steven Gillespie robbed ex-U’s loanee Michail Antonio inside the penalty area, and then slid the ball through for the onrushing Henderson, who poked home past Stephen Bywater at the near post.
Wednesday never really recovered from that blow for the rest of the half. They had bags of possession, but rarely threatened keeper Ben Williams.
Their best chance of a first-half equaliser arrived on 20 minutes when Antonio nutmeged left-back John White and powered into the box.
Antonio’s cross-cum-shot rolled into the path of Nile Ranger, but he miscued his shot wide of goal from a promising position.
However, Wednesday did grab an equaliser inside seven minutes of the second period. Striker Gary Madine was chopped down on the left-edge of the penalty area, by Brian Wilson, and the ensuing free-kick by Lines was diverted home by Llera.
The Yorkshire club shaded the final half-hour, but without having much joy inside the U’s box.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Williams, Wilson, Okuonghae, Eastman, White, Duguid, Izzet (sub Odejayi, 74), Bond, Henderson (sub O’Toole, 87), Wordsworth, Gillespie. Unused subs: Rose, Heath, Sears.
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Bywater, Buxton, Batth, Llera, Beevers, Antonio, Semedo, Lines, Johnson, Ranger (sub O’Grady, 73) Madine. Unused subs: D Jones, Prutton, M Jones, Weaver.
Referee: Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire)