Johnnie keeps his head

JOHNNIE Jackson hardly touched the ball in the first half, but his one meaningful contribution was sufficient to earn Colchester United a point against visiting Leicester.

By Carl Marston

JOHNNIE Jackson hardly touched the ball in the first half, but his one meaningful contribution was sufficient to earn Colchester United a point against visiting Leicester.

U's midfielder Jackson nodded home Mark Yeates' cross on the stroke of half-time, to break his scoring duck for the season. It was his third goal in a U's shirt.

“The goal came from only my third touch of the ball! OK, so that's a slight exaggeration, but I found it difficult to get into the game in the first-half,” revealed ex-Tottenham midfielder Jackson.

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“I don't usually score many goals with my head, and yet I reckon all three of my goals for Colchester have come from headers. I just don't know why I can't score with my feet!

“It was a very tight and hectic first half. I was on the left flank, and there wasn't much space created until the second-half, when I saw far more of the ball.

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“I got more involved. I really prefer to play in central midfield, rather than on the left, because I'm not a winger. Having said that, all of my Colchester goals have come when I've been playing wide on the left, but I prefer to be in the centre.

“I'm not too disappointed with the result, especially as we had lost our last two games. It's another point on the board. I thought we had the better of the game, and it's a step forward.

“However, once again we conceded an early goal. We have been falling behind in games too often, and it's something that we need to address.

“I'd like to thank Yeatsey (Yeates) for his cross for my goal. He's playing out of his skin at the moment. I knew his potential when we were together at Tottenham. It was a great ball from him,” added Jackson, who has played every minute of every game this season.

U's manager Geraint Williams chose to switch Jackson to the left flank against Leicester, to accommodate Kevin Watson in central midfield. It was Watson's first appearance of the season following injury.

Williams explained: “We're delighted to have got an hour out of Kevin (Watson), and a quality hour at that. I thought he controlled the midfield for us.

“Kevin was magnificent. He went off with cramp, but he's in the ice-bath and he'll have a massage. We will hopefully be able to wheel him out again for Tuesday's match against Plymouth.

“Johnnie (Jackson) has a happy knack of getting into the box, and it was a great header from a great cross by Yeatsey, although their keeper almost managed to keep it out.

“I'm a bit disappointed to get just one point, but it was a hard-earned point because we gave Leicester an early goal. We wanted to get our noses in front, so that Leicester would have to come at us, but instead they were able to keep a well-organised defence. They are a difficult side to break down.

“Now we have to make sure that we prepare well for Plymouth on Tuesday, and hopefully get four points from these two home games,” added Williams.

George Elokobi was dropped to the substitutes' bench for the first time this season, but this had nothing to do with last week's transfer speculation surrounding a possible move to either Celtic or Reading for the promising left-back.

Williams confirmed: “It was a hard decision, but I wanted Kevin (Watson) to come in. I pushed Johnnie to the left and decided to have a look at Danny Granville at left-back. The team changes were tough to make.”

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