Jackson and Vernon set up U's win

Swindon Town 1 Colchester United 3FIRST-half goals from Johnnie Jackson and Scott Vernon paved the way for Colchester United's first league win of the season, at Swindon Town.

Carl Marston

Swindon Town 1 Colchester United 3

FIRST-half goals from Johnnie Jackson and Scott Vernon paved the way for Colchester United's first league win of the season, at Swindon Town.

And it was richly deserved.


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Jackson broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute with a deadly finish. Clive Platt was the instigator with an excellent flick-on, beating defender Patrick Kanyuka in the air, and Jackson was on hand to drill home with his left foot.

The U's doubled their lead just before the interval. Jackson's cross from the left looked harmless enough, but Swindon right-back Jack Smith could not intercept and suddenly Vernon was in the clear.

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Keeper Peter Brezovan scurried off his line but Vernon was able to calmly lift the ball over him and into an unguarded net, from eight yards out.

United felt hard done by when the assistant referee, and not referee Clive Penton, decided that Matt Heath had charged down Kanyuka's header with his hand. The result was a 70th minute penalty, which Simon Cox slotted home to set up a nerve-wracking last quarter of the game.

Swindon nearly grabbed a late equaliser. Billy Paynter's header struck the underside of the bar from a corner on 87 minutes.

But the game was made safe deep into injury-time, when substitute Akanni-Sunday Wasiu burst onto Yeates' through ball and rolled into an empty net after keeper Brezovan had completely misjudged the bounce of the ball.

United were in the driving seat for most of the afternoon, and were good value for this win, even though club record signing Steven Gillespie was not involved due to a thigh injury.

The U's recorded the first shot of the game in the 10th minute. Mark Yeates, who had a loan spell at Swindon earlier on in his career, let fly with a shot from just inside the box that Peter Brezovan initially juggled, before being able to catch at the second attempt near his goal-line.

Scott Vernon forced a save out of Brezovan in the 13th minute. Yeates was again a threat, bursting into the penalty area and laying the ball out to Vernon, who cut inside his marker and fired goalwards with a low drive from a narrow angle. Brezovan parried at his near post.

Seconds later and Anthony Wordsworth nearly broke the deadlock. Yeates picked him out with a great cross to the far post, but Wordsworth's downward header was deflected wide of target by a defender.

Yeates stretched the Swindon defence with an instinctive long pass forward, which released Clive Platt. The U's big striker outwitted defender Patrick Kanyuka, but the angle was too acute for him to squeeze his shot past Brezovan.

On 19 minutes, Johnnie Jackson, another former Swindon loanee, delivered a corner that an unmarked Vernon headed high and wide while slightly off balance.

Swindon felt hard done by, just before the half-hour mark. Dean Gerken, put under unnecessary pressure by Matt Lockwood's poor back pass, saw his attempted clearance strike Billy Paynter. The duo contested the rebound in the air, and although Paynter managed to head goalwards, the assistant referee had already raised his flag for a foul on Gerken, much to the disgust of the County Ground faithful. Paynter's header didn't actually end up in the net anyway.

JACKSON fired the U's in front in the 32nd minute, to chalk up his first goal of the season.

Clive Platt and defender Patrick Kanyuka were involved in an aerial battle inside the box, and it was the commanding Platt who won the day. His flick-on dropped at the feet of Jackson, and the U's midfielder made no mistake with a deadly low finish from 12 yards out, giving keeper Brezovan no chance.

Swindon were holding on at times, and Brezovan was relieved to see Yeates' cagey cross-cum-shot, executed from the right flank, drop onto the top of his net, after dipping just over the bar.

But the U's did grab their second goal in the last minute of the first period, thanks to VERNON'S super cool finish.

Jackson was the creator this time. He rather scuffed his cross from the left wing, but Robins right-back Jack Smith inexplicably allowed the ball to escape him. Vernon was lurking behind Smith, and he made no mistake in lifting his shot calmly over the onrushing Brezovan from eight yards out.

Half-time: Swindon Town 0 Colchester United 2

Swindon made a double change for the start of the second half. Craig Easton replaced Michael Timlin in midfield, and new signing Mark Marshall came on for Jon-Paul McGovern on the right flank.

U's left-winger Wordsworth was the first player to be booked, for tugging back Smith in the 54th minute.

The hosts had a goal disallowed in the 58th minute. Gerken made a mess of trying to catch Anthony McNamee's in-swinging free-kick, and the attempted clearance hit Lilian Nalis and ballooned into the net. However, referee had already blown his whistle for a foul on Gerken, much to the annoyance of the home fans.

But the U's did concede a goal on 70 minutes, via the penalty spot, after defender Matt Heath was adjudged to have blocked Kanyuka's header with his hand. Referee Mr Penton initially waved play on, but then gave the penalty when his assistant raised his flag.

Swindon striker COX converted the spot kick, by sending Gerken the wrong way.

The U's made their first change in the 79th minute, with Dean Hammond coming on for Kem Izzet, and shortly afterwards Yeates tested Brezovan with an angled half-volley that Swindon's keeper smothered.

The visitors were saved by the woodwork in the 87th minute. Paynter's header beat Gerken but thudded off the underside of the bar. Gerken was able to claw away the follow-up shot by Paynter.

WASIU appeared as an 89th minute substitute, and he obliged with the killer third in injury-time. Brezovan failed to intercept Yeates' through ball and Wasiu could not miss from point blank range, with an empty goal beckoning.

Full-time: Swindon Town 1 Colchester United 3

Squads

SWINDON: Brezovan 6, J Smith 6, Kanyuka 6, IFIL 7, Aljofree 6, McGovern 6 (sub Marshall, 46), Timlin 6 (sub Easton, 46), Nalis 7 (sub Peacock, 79), McNamee 7, Paynter 6, Cox 7. Unused subs: Amankwaah, P Smith.

COLCHESTER: Gerken 7, White 7, Heath 7, Reid 8, Lockwood 6, Yeates 8, JACKSON 8, Izzet 7 (sub Hammond, 79), Wordsworth 7, Vernon 7 (sub Wasiu, 89), Platt 8. Unused subs: Coyne, Elito, Cousins.

Referee: Mr Clive Penton (Sussex)

Attendance: 7,031

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