Old boy McGleish beats U's

COLCHESTER United old boy Scott McGleish netted the winner against his former club to guarantee Leyton Orient's League One status for another season.

Carl Marston

Leyton Orient 2 Colchester United 1

COLCHESTER United old boy Scott McGleish netted the winner against his former club to guarantee Leyton Orient's League One status for another season.

McGleish struck with the vital goal in the 80th minute. The veteran front-runner bundled home Jimmy Smith's cross from just a few feet out, after U's defender Alan Maybury had been caught out by a long ball pumped forward by Charlie Daniels.

It was McGleish's fourth goal for the O's, since his loan move from Wycombe Wanderers, although the Tannoy announcer credited the goal to Smith - the ball did not appear to cross the line until McGleish tapped it home.

Ironically, it had looked good for the U's early on, and they deservedly took the lead, courtesy of Clive Platt's deadly finish on 43 minutes.

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It was a well-worked free-kick routine. Mark Tierney's delivery to the far post was headed on by both Neal Trotman and Ashley Vincent, allowing Platt to nod home from the edge of the six-yard box.

But Paul Lambert's men could not hold onto their lead until half-time, due to a stunning free-kick from Daniels in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Tottenham loanee Daniels gave Dean Gerken no chance with his 25-yard strike.

Both sides hit the woodwork in the second period, but the U's were finally undone by one of their former favourites. They will hope to bounce back against Brighton on Easter Monday.

U's boss Paul Lambert rung the changes for this visit to East London. There were recalls for keeper Gerken, winger Simon Hackney and Wolves loanee Lewis Gobern, while new recruit Vincent was handed his first start since his move from Cheltenham last month.

Ex-U's striker McGleish led the front-line for the O's, but there was no place in the 16-man squad for fellow former U's attacker Dean Morgan.

Full debutant Vincent found the back of net after just nine minutes, but the goal was ruled out for offside. A mistake by Paul Terry, the brother of England skipper John Terry, allowed Hackney to scurry away and release Vincent, but the ex-Cheltenham winger was standing in an offside position.

McGleish was in the wars at the other end. He was felled following an aerial battle with Gerken, and for a moment it looked as though he had been knocked unconscious. The stretcher was summoned, but the 35-year-old eventually struggled to his feet and was able to carry on.

U's defender Trotman nearly scored an own goal in the 17th minute. Fortunately, his defensive header flew a foot over the bar.

It was a very open game, and just a minute later livewire Hackney was homing in on goal. His final shot, from 20 yards out, was aimed straight at Jamie Jones, who saved down on his haunches.

There was no quarter being given in central midfield, especially between Kem Izzet and O's hard-man Sean Thornton. The latter had been sent off in the corresponding fixture at the Community Stadium, which the U's won 1-0.

The visitors peppered the target on 38 minutes. First Platt was narrowly wide with a deft header from Hackney's floated free-kick, and seconds later flying winger Gobern capped a strong run with a cracking 25-yard drive that keeper Jones managed to divert over his bar.

United had certainly shaded the first half, and they duly took the lead on 43 minutes, thanks to PLATT's 10th goal of the season. His close-range header gave Jones no chance.

But the O's were level before half-time. Gerken was left clutching at thin air as DANIELS' long-range free-kick soared into the roof of the net.

Half-time: Leyton Orient 1 Colchester United 1

Orient dominated the early stages of the second half, and McGleish should really have scored against his old club in the 55th minute. He had time and space inside the box, from Simon Church's low cross, but his shot on the turn was well blocked by Gerken.

And Gerken came to his side's rescue again before the hour mark. Platt's defensive header, from a free-kick, was soaring towards the roof of the net until Gerken arched back to claw the ball over his bar.

McGleish squandered another great chance when put clean through by Daniels' intelligent pass. But he snatched at his shot, resulting in the ball flying harmlessly over the bar.

Only the woodwork denied the U's a goal in the 65th minute. Tierney tried his luck with a speculative 30-yarder that beat Jones, only to clip the bar and drop to safety.

It was the O's turn to hit the bar in the 78th minute. McGleish let fly with a bolt-out-of-the-blue from 25 yards out that thudded back off the woodwork.

However, two minutes later and MCGLEISH did score to put the O's 2-1 up. He slid in to bury Smith's cross from point blank range.

United searched for a late equaliser, and Hammond had a shot deflected wide by defender Jordan Spence. But it was ex-U's boss Geraint Williams who will be celebrating tonight.

Teams:-

LEYTON ORIENT: Jones 7, Purches 6, Mkandawire 7, Spence 7, DANIELS 8, Melligan 6 (sub Gray, 67), Thornton 7, Terry 7, Smith 7 (sub Boyd, 81), McGleish 8, Church 6. Unused subs: Saah, Cave-Brown, Morris.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken 7, Maybury 6, Trotman 7, Baldwin 7, Tierney 7, Gobern 6 (sub Yeates, 67), HAMMOND 8, Izzet 7, Hackney 7 (sub Wordsworth, 77), Platt 7, Vincent 6 (sub Wasiu, 70). Unused subs: Coyne, Cousins.

Referee: Mr Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire) 7

Attendance: 4,685

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