Penalty shoot-out anguish for U’s

COLCHESTER United bowed out of the Carling Cup after the heartbreak of a penalty shoot-out defeat at Adams Park last night.

COLCHESTER United bowed out of the Carling Cup after the heartbreak of a penalty shoot-out defeat at Adams Park tonight.

Michael Rose had his penalty saved by home keeper Nikki Bull, and Ben Harding then converted his spot kick as Wycombe Wanderers scrambled through to the second round 5-4 on penalties.

The U’s had bounced back from conceding two early goals to lead 3-2 early in extra-time, through goals from Kayode Odejayi, Ian Henderson and Steven Gillespie, but they could not hold on.

United were caught cold after just two minutes with a controversial goal that they believed should not have stood.

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Referee Pat Miller appeared to blow his whistle after Andy Sandell took a free-kick, and just before Scott Donnelly crashed home a spectacular shot.

U’s players had made no effort to close down Donnelly, and so were understandably incensed that the goal was awarded. The referee ambled over to the sidelines to talk to the fourth official, before confirming the goal.

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But there was nothing controversial about Wycombe’s second goal, with the exception of some criminal defending from the U’s.

The Chairboys opened up the U’s defence all too easily, inside the penalty area, and an unmarked Stuart Beavon was able to crack in a low drive that keeper Mark Cousins could only parry into the path of Joel Grant.

Midfielder Grant could hardly miss as he side-footed home the rebound from just six yards out to sweep Wycombe into a two-goal lead after just 12 minutes.

The U’s defending for both goals would certainly have alarmed manager Ward.

But he was feeling happier at half-time, with his side having battled back impressively to 2-2.

Odejayi reduced the arrears with a clinical header in the 27th minute. Michael Rose delivered an inch-perfect cross from the left flank and Odejayi rose majestically to head home from inside the six-yard box.

It was all-square on 41 minutes, thanks to a sensational strike from Henderson. His long-range shot beat keeper Nikki Bull all ends up as it soared into the top corner of the net, right in front of the U’s travelling supporters.

There were no goals during the second period, but both sides scored in the first half of extra-time via Gillespie’s penalty for the U’s, and a ferocious volley from Wycombe’s Stuart Beavon, to ensure extra-time.

But it was not to be for the Us.


WYCOMBE WANDERERS: Bull, McCoy, Johnson (sub Winfield, 113), Tunnicliffe, Sandell, Donnelly (sub Ibe, 104), Harding, Halls, Grant, Harris (sub Rendell, 80), Beavon. Unused subs: Foster, Ingram, Kewley-Graham, McClure.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Cousins, Wilson, Okuonghae, Heath, Rose, Izzet, O’Toole (sub James, 75), Henderson, Wordsworth, Vincent (sub Gillespie, 68), Odejayi (sub Coker, 120). Unused subs: Baldwin, White, Duguid, Pentney.

Referee: Pat Miller (Bedfordshire)

Attendance: 1,430

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