Kurtis Guthrie and Brennan Dickenson on target as injury-hit Colchester United beat the Bees
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Colchester United 2 Barnet 1
Injury-hit Colchester United marked their first home match in five weeks with a victory over below-par Barnet this afternoon.
First-half goals from Kurtis Guthrie and Brennan Dickenson extended the U’s recent run to just one defeat in 12 matches, although they had Frankie Kent stretchered off early on, and fellow defender Lloyd Doyley also injured during the first quarter of the game.
John Akinde headed home an 86th minute consolation goal for the Bees, from Jamal Campbell-Ryce’s cross.
Guthrie chalked up his 11th goal of the season in style, in the 18th minute.
The Jersey-born striker latched onto Denny Johnstone’s pass and let fly from the edge of the box with a low shot that was placed with precision into the bottom corner of the net.
And Dickenson doubled the lead in the 42nd minute, rattling up his eighth goal of the season to put the hosts in the driving seat.
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Craig Slater was the creator, finding Dickenson in space inside the box, and the U’s wing-back controlled before firing in a shot on the turn that was deflected into the net off defender Charlie Clough.
U’s boss John McGreal made four changes to the side which drew 1-1 at Blackpool last weekend, with three of them enforced changes.
Tom Eastman picked up a bad ankle injury at Blackpool, and so was replaced by Doyley in the heart of defence, while Kane Vincent-Young came in for Richard Brindley at right wing-back.
Johnstone replaced the injured Chris Porter up front, but Brennan Dickenson was back after injury, coming in for Matt Briggs down the left flank.
And there was more injury woe for the U’s, inside the first six minutes of the game, when Frankie Kent seemed to fall awkwardly in the home penalty area and was left crumpled on the ground, clutching his ankle.
Kent was stretchered off the pitch, after a few minutes treatment, to be replaced by fellow defender Alex Wynter on 11 minutes.
Wynter replaced Kent in the sweeper’s role, but that was not the only change facing the hosts, because Doyley went down with a knee problem almost immediately afterwards.
Doyley’s afternoon was therefore also cut short, with Matt Briggs summoned from the bench as a 16th minute replacement.
Briggs operated as a left-sided centre-half, with Elokobi switching to sweeper and Wynter on the right-hand side. But even with all their centre-half injury woes, the U’s still managed to grab the lead, just two minutes later.
Guthrie made room for himself on the edge of the box, before beating keeper Vickers with an inch-perfect shot.
That goal was just the tonic that the U’s required, following all the disruptive injuries.
And Johnstone nearly nipped in to poach a second in the 21st minute, only for defender Michael Nelson to clip the ball away for a corner, before Johnstone could pounce at the near post with keeper Vickers struggling.
Vickers stood up well to block Slater’s fierce shot, from a tight angle, in front of his near post as the U’s kept up the pressure with a series of corners.
Barnet were living dangerously, and substitute Wynter pulled a shot just a foot wide of the far post, following a good delivery by Owen Garvan.
The Bees threatened just once in the first period, but it needed a terrific save by Sam Walker to keep them at bay.
Danger-man John Akinde burst into the penalty area and teed up team-mate Curtis Weston, but his goal-bound shot from point blank range was blocked by Walker with his legs, on his goal-line.
The U’s went 2-0 up in the 42nd minute, through Dickenson’s eighth goal of the season, and Tom Lapslie was only a whisker away from notching a third with a 25-yarder which flew inches over the bar.
It was a very subdued start to the second half, with neither side threatening for 20 minutes, which suited the U’s.
Bees leading scored Akinde finally had a sight of goal, but sliced his shot horribly wide in the 66th minute.
For the U’s, the impressive Slater had one shot blocked and another whistled over the bar, on 76 minutes.
Walker dropped on a goal-bound shot by Mauro Vilhete on 83 minutes, but otherwise the U’s coped well with all Barnet could throw at them, until Akinde headed home late on to halve the deficit.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Doyley (sub Briggs, 16), Kent (sub Wynter, 11), Elokobi, Vincent-Young, Lapslie, Garvan, Dickenson, Slater, Guthrie, Johnstone (sub Fosu, 87)(. Unused subs: Barnes, Pyke, James, Edge.
BARNET: Vickers, Clough, Nelson, Dembele, Johnson, Coulson (sub Campbell-Ryce, 46), Champion, Weston (sub Amaluzor, 63), Kyei (sub Bover, 67), Vilhete, Akinde. Unused subs: Santos, Mason-Clark, Sweeney, McKenzie-Lyle.
Referee: Mr J Busby
Attendance: 3,606 (415 away)