Late heartache as Magnus Okuonghae own goal denies U’s victory

Colchester United 1 Huddersfield Town 1

AN OWN goal by Magnus Okuonghae in the last minute of injury-time robbed Colchester United of victory against promotion-chasing Huddersfield this afternoon.

Under pressure from substitute Alan Lee, centre-half Okuonghae could only head a big kick by keeper Alex Smithies over his own keeper, Ben Williams, and into an empty net.

It was a cruel end to the game for the U’s, who had led since the third minute, thanks to Steven Gillespie’s goal-poaching instincts.

And an 88th minute penalty miss by Anthony Wordsworth was to prove costly.


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Once again, Gillespie embarrassed an opposing keeper, this time Smithies, to put the U’s ahead after just three minutes, and it was a lead that they protected until the last minute.

Huddersfield bossed the first period, in terms of territory and possession, but they had no response to Gillespie’s third minute opener.

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Gillespie had scored at Charlton by charging down the keeper’s clearance, in a 2-0 win, and he had almost scored by doing the same thing in a goalless draw at Wycombe last Saturday.

So it was perhaps only Huddersfield keeper Smithies who was surprised to see Gillespie suddenly in his face, charging down his kick.

Gillespie watched in delight, and Smithies in horror, as the ball was deflected into an unguarded net.

It was the ex-Cheltenham striker’s 12th goal of the season, and his 10th in his last 11 appearances.

The Terriers took charge after this, but the U’s defended well and rarely gave the visitors a sight of goal.

Jordan Rhodes had just one first-half chance, when heading wide from Danny Ward’s cross in the 36th minute. Otherwise, keeper Williams was well protected.

Into the second half and the woodwork saved the U’s on the hour mark. Winger Danny Ward’s volley thudded back off the underside of the bar fro point blank range.

The U’s continued to defend stoically and Kayode Odejayi so nearly doubled the lead in the 83rd minute.

He charged through the middle and shrugged off the challenge of defender Morrison, but could not squeeze his shot beyond the onrushing Smithies.

Kem Izzet was brought down by Joey Gudjonsson in the box, to earn the U’s a late penalty, but Wordsworth’s spot kick was well saved by Smithies.

And then right at the death, an Okuonghae own goal handed the Terriers a last gasp point.

Squads

COLCHESTER UNITED: Williams, Wilson, Okuonghae, Eastman, White, Henderson, Bond, Izzet (sub Heath, 90+1), Wordsworth, Gillespie (sub Massey, 68), Odejayi. Unused subs: Rose, Sears, Duguid.

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN: Smithies, Hunt, Clarke, Morrison, Woods, Ward, Gudjonsson, Kay (sub Arismendi, 77) Roberts (sub Lee, 59), Novak (sub Arfield, 77), Rhodes. Unused subs: Bennett, McCombe.

Referee: Dean Mohareb (Cheshire)

Attendance: 4,572

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