John-Joe lets his feet do the talking

JOHN-JOE O'Toole does his talking on the pitch.

Stuart Watson

JOHN-JOE O'Toole does his talking on the pitch.

The 20-year-old midfielder dramatically fired Colchester into the third round of the FA Cup with virtually the last kick of the game on Saturday and then quietly slipped past the waiting television cameras and into the Edgar Street dressing rooms.

Team mates have understatedly admitted that O'Toole keeps himself to himself, while U's manager Aidy Boothroyd went one further recently when playfully suggesting that he has to give the Watford loanee a kick when he wants him to speak.


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No-one associated with the Essex club will care one bit about the all-action midfielder's shy off-field persona though if he continues to come up with the goods on it.

Boothroyd admitted last week that he would like to sign O'Toole on a permanent basis when his loan deal comes to an end in January.

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And while fees of up to �400,000 have been mentioned in some quarters, more goals like his one on Saturday would mean his signature could prove priceless.

With a fairly drab FA Cup tie heading for a goalless finish, O'Toole arrived from nowhere to finish substitute Anthony Wordsworth's pull-back in the third and final minute of stoppage time.

It was tough luck on the League Two hosts who, for large periods of the second half, had looked the more likely to force a winner.

But while an uninspiring performance from the U's will leave critics of Boothroyd's style with plenty more ammunition, ultimately they must concede that - yet again - he has come up with a winning formula.

Colchester had more than enough chances to break the deadlock in the first half of this match. Kayode Odejayi had a one-on-one shot smothered by the keeper, he also had a header cleared off the line, while O'Toole fired narrowly wide and Steven Gillespie hit the side netting.

It was fans' favourite Gillespie's first start since March as Boothroyd, no doubt with half an eye on Tuesday night's trip to Brentford, made four changes to the team that beat Stockport four days' previous.

David Fox, who had injured his ribs in training, Anthony Wordsworth, Phil Ifil and Clive Platt all dropped out, as Gillespie, Kemi Izzet, Simon Hackney and Marc Tierney came into the side.

Hereford - in-form at home and playing an attack-minded 5-3-2 formation - were to prove no pushovers though and they really threatened a cup upset for a spell around the hour mark.

Striker Gavin McCallum was only denied following an almighty goalmouth scramble, while left-wing-back Ryan Valentine's cross clipped the bar.

The turning point came in the 67th minute when McCallum dribbled past Magnus Okuonghae and Marc Tierney with ease before firing straight at keeper Ben Williams.

That proved to be Hereford's last real chance and, having ridden the storm, the U's were able to find their dramatic winner.

It wasn't pretty, but O'Toole's late winner made the long journey back from Herefordshire all the more easier for the travelling contingent.

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