John Ward praises team despite last gasp own goal

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward praised his side for their “fantastic effort” in coming to within seconds of beating Huddersfield Town this afternoon.

The Terriers looked to be heading towards what would have been only their fourth league defeat of the season, as Steven Gillespie’s third minute opener remained the only difference between the sides going into stoppage time.

The U’s also missed an 88th minute penalty, when Anthony Wordsworth’s spot kick was saved by keeper Alex Smithies.

And then, in the fourth and final minute of injury-time, Magnus Okuonghae headed into his own net, from Smithies’ long kick upfield, to deny the hosts all three points.

Despite the last gasp heartache, manager Ward was still delighted with his side’s display against top two contenders.

“It was a cruel way to be denied a win,” explained Ward.

“It was a fantastic effort, from both teams really, and it was another exciting game here.

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“We’ve just played the top three in our division and we have been exceptionally close to all of them.

“We haven’t lost to any of them (Charlton, Sheffield United and Huddersfield), so it was another fantastic effort from my team in such a short space of time.

“But we haven’t really felt like this, after a game, since MK Dons had beaten us (5-1 at home).

“That’s indicative of the improvement we have made as a group, to feel like that after a 1-1 draw against a team who have only lost three games all season,” added Ward.

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