Peterborough v Colchester match report
Peterborough United 2 Colchester United 1INJURY-ravaged Colchester United slithered to a third successive defeat, but not without a fight at high-flying Peterborough this afternoon.
Peterborough United 2 Colchester United 1
INJURY-ravaged Colchester United slithered to a third successive defeat, but not without a fight at high-flying Peterborough this afternoon.
The U's suffered injuries to three of their defenders, who were all forced to hobble off - Matt Heath (21 minutes), John White (35) and substitute Lee Hills (66). It meant a number of reshuffles to the back-line, which saw Ifil play as a centre-half and Johnnie Jackson as a right-back!
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The U's had looked the more likely scorers in the first half, but they were made to pay for some missed chances when Craig Mackail-Smith drilled past Dean Gerken in the first minute of stoppage time.
Despite all the injuries, the visitors stuck to their guns and Clive Platt headed home David Perkins' deep cross to level the issue on 61 minutes.
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However, Posh struck back almost immediately. Gerken kept out Gabriel Zakuani's initial header, but George Boyd crashed home the rebound. Boyd's clinical finish proved to be the winner.
However, Kem Izzet could have grabbed an equaliser with virtually the last kick of the game. But he blasted over from 10 yards out.
New recruit Jermaine Easter, signed on loan from Plymouth on Thursday evening, went straight into the starting line-up alongside Clive Platt up front.
There were also recalls for keeper Gerken and centre-half Heath, while Izzet returned after missing the Walsall defeat through injury.
The U's nearly broke the deadlock inside the first three minutes. Clive Platt knocked down White's free-kick and Heath hooked in a goal-bound shot that was blocked on the line. The angle was too tight for Easter to bundle home the rebound.
The visitors looked the better side for the first 20 minutes. A mistake by Posh defender Gabriel Zakuani gifted possession to Mark Yeates, but the Dubliner dragged his shot wide of target from the edge of the box.
Posh threatened first in the 18th minute. Left-back Tom Williams swung over a cross which Charlie Lee headed over the top.
The U's were forced into a reshuffle when centre-half Heath limped off injured in the 21st minute. In the absence of a recognised central defender on the bench, substitute Phil Ifil was summoned to operate as an emergency centre-half. It was a big test for the ex-Tottenham youngster.
David Perkins should really have fired Colchester ahead just before the half-hour mark. Easter's low cross was just too strong for the awaiting Platt, but Perkins had time to pick his spot from 10 yards out. Unfortunately, his final effort was deflected wide off defenders Russell Martin and Williams.
The U's injury woes got worse on 35 minutes. White hobbled off, and that meant another reshuffle at the back. Aston Villa loanee Lee Hills came on as a left-back, with Jackson switching to right-back.
Left-footer Jackson did not look comfortable in that position, and his cause was not helped by a booking in the 38th minute, for a foul on Boyd.
Posh took the lead in the first minute of injury-time. Boyd was the creator with a teasing ball over the top, and MACKAIL-SMITH composed himself before slotting home a low shot past Gerken, despite the close attentions of Baldwin and Hills.
It was Mackail-Smith's 14th goal of the season.
Half-time: Peterborough 1 Colchester 0
Easter was looking lively on his U's debut, and he set up Yeates with a good chest-down. The U's winger lifted his 20-yarder over the bar on 53 minutes.
The visitors scored out-of-the-blue to make it 1-1 in the 61st minute, thanks to PLATTS's precise header.
Perkins swung over a marvellous cross from the left touch-line and big man Platt nodded home from inside the six-yard box.
However, the U's were level for just two minutes, because BOYD regained the lead for Posh on 63 minutes. Gerken performed heroics to punch away Zakuani's goal-bound header, but Boyd steamed in to slam home the rebound from 12 yards out.
The U's rotten luck with injuries continued in the 66th minute. A third defender was forced to limp off, this time substitute Hills. He was replaced by Anthony Wordsworth, who deputised at left-back.
Wordsworth was booked in the 81st minute for a rash challenge on Aaron Mclean.
The U's should have grabbed an equaliser in the third and last minute of injury-time. Posh only half cleared a corner, and Izzet volleyed over from just 10 yards out.
PETERBOROUGH UNITED: Lewis 7, Martin 8, Morgan 7, Zakuani 7, Williams 7, Torres 6 (sub Batt, 62), Lee 6 (sub Crofts, 62) Keates 7, BOYD 8, Mclean 7, Mackail-Smith 7. Unused subs: Westwood, McKeown, Coutts.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken 7, White 6 (sub Hills, 35, sub Wordsworth, 66), Baldwin 7, Heath 6 (sub Ifil, 21, 7), Jackson 7, Yeates 7, Hammond 6, IZZET 8, Perkins 7, Platt 7, Easter 7. Unused subs: Vernon, Cousins.
Referee: Mark Haywood (West Yorkshire) 7