Old boys return to haunt Robins for U's
FORMER Swindon old boys Johnnie Jackson and Mark Yeates, who both enjoyed loan spells with the Robins, returned to haunt the Wiltshire club.Jackson capped an inspirational performance in midfield by scoring the first and setting up the second for Scott Vernon, while winger Yeates ran rings around the Robins and created the last minute third goal for Sunday-Akanni Wasiu.
FORMER Swindon old boys Johnnie Jackson and Mark Yeates, who both enjoyed loan spells with the Robins, returned to haunt the Wiltshire club.
Jackson capped an inspirational performance in midfield by scoring the first and setting up the second for Scott Vernon, while winger Yeates ran rings around the Robins and created the last minute third goal for Sunday-Akanni Wasiu.
In fact, Saturday was a day for firsts. This was Colchester United's first league win of the season; Jackson and Vernon both chalked up their first goals of the campaign; and Wasiu celebrated his first ever goal in the Football League, following his summer move from St Albans City.
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The U's were in the box seat throughout the first-half. Swindon were awful, but no doubt still smarting from some harsh words from manager Maurice Malpas at the interval, they mounted a second-half rally.
Geraint Williams' men still looked to be coasting, until Matt Heath was harshly adjudged to have handled Patrick Kanyuka's header inside the penalty area. Referee Clive Penton did not initially award the spot kick, until his assistant started waving his flag.
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Swindon striker Simon Cox rammed home his third goal of the season, by sending keeper Dean Gerken the wrong way with his penalty. Suddenly, the U's were just 2-1 up with still 20 minutes to play.
Anything other than a victory would have been harsh on Colchester, but their hearts were in their mouths when Billy Paynter's rocket header, from a corner, thudded back off the underside of the bar in the 87th minute.
Grateful for that slice of good fortune, the visitors made the game safe in the 90th minute, courtesy of Wasiu's landmark first goal. He will probably never score an easier goal throughout his career!
Introduced as late as the 86th minute for a tiring Scott Vernon, super-sub Wasiu was presented with two open goals during an incident-packing finale.
The first of these, with keeper Peter Brezovan out of his penalty area, saw Wasiu curl a 30-yard shot into the side-netting. But he was more lethal from a few feet out.
Brezovan again advanced off his line, but failed to intercept Yeates' through ball, so allowing Wasiu to almost run the ball into a gaping net. The Nigerian was probably only in the squad because of Steve Gillespie's thigh injury.
This has been an impressive response from the U's, following a woeful 4-2 defeat at Hartlepool on the opening day of the season. They kept clean-sheets at Gillingham (1-0 win in the Carling Cup) and against Huddersfield (goalless home draw), and at Swindon they showed signs of fulfilling the bookmakers' predictions of being amongst the promotion candidates.
Now they can look forward to tomorrow evening's Carling Cup tie at Ipswich, where they will be the underdogs, a tag they were lumbered with throughout their two seasons in the Championship.
It was no surprise when the U's broke the deadlock against Swindon. Brezovan had beaten away Vernon's angled drive at his near post in the 13th minute, and Anthony Wordsworth nearly netted with a header at the far post, from Yeates' excellent cross. The hosts were holding on.
Jackson's 32nd minute opener was well-worked. Target man Clive Platt, a colossus all afternoon, beat Kanyuka in the air to set up Jackson, who swept home with his trusty left boot from 12 yards out.
United doubled their tally on the stroke of half-time. Jackson rather scuffed his cross from the left wing, but Swindon right-back Jack Smith blundered while attempting to clear. The ball squirmed through for Vernon, who made no mistake with a clinical finish, lifting the ball beyond the reach of Brezovan.
Swindon had beaten Tranmere 3-1 on the opening day of the season, but they left it too late to take any points off the U's, despite a marked improvement in the second period.
They were lucky to win a penalty, and unlucky to hit the bar. On balance, their opponents were good value for the win.
SWINDON: Brezovan 6, J Smith 6, Kanyuka 6, IFIL 7, Aljofree 6, McGovern 5 (sub Marshall, 46), Timlin 6 (sub Easton, 46), Nalis 7 (sub Peacock, 79), McNamee 7, Paynter 6, Cox 7. Unused subs: Amankwaah, P Smith.
COLCHESTER: Gerken 7, White 7, Heath 7, Reid 8, Lockwood 6, Yeates 8, JACKSON 8, Izzet 7 (sub Hammond, 79), Wordsworth 7, Vernon 7 (sub Wasiu, 86), Platt 8. Unused subs: Coyne, Elito, Cousins.
Referee: Clive Penton (Sussex)