Sam's the man for U's

ASTON Villa loanee Sam Williams scored on his Colchester United debut to move the U's a step nearer to a Wembley appearance at Bournemouth last night.

ASTON Villa loanee Sam Williams scored on his Colchester United debut to move the U's a step nearer to a Wembley appearance at Bournemouth last night.

Williams was handed an immediate start by manager Paul Lambert, following his temporary switch from Villa Park on a three-month loan just 24 hours earlier.

And the young striker pounced with the only goal of the game in this Johnstone's Paint Trophy southern area quarter-final tie on the Dorset coast. He swept home Kem Izzet's cross in the 17th minute.

The U's were always in control, with their League Two hosts rarely looking like fashioning an equaliser. Substitute Mark Yeates also hit the woodwork for the visitors late on.

This was therefore United's third successive 1-0 away win in this competition, following triumphs at Millwall and Gillingham in the first two rounds.

They are now just two steps away from Wembley, and can look forward to an area semi-final next month.

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The U's had several chances to score before Williams broke the deadlock with a deadly finish on 17 minutes.

Kem Izzet, who had missed an open goal with a header at Southend on Saturday, was again disappointed with himself for not sweeping home Scott Vernon's low cross with an unguarded net beckoning. Izzet miscued his effort into the air.

A couple of minutes later and young Cherries keeper Ryan Pryce did well to block Williams' fierce shot. The follow-up effort from Matt Heath was deflected away by home skipper Jason Pearce.

But the visitors did take the lead from the ensuing corner. Johnnie Jackson's delivery was squared into the box by Izzet for Williams to tuck home a first-time shot from 12 yards out. It was an impressive finish from the 21-year-old Welshman.

United have certainly had no problem with scoring goals in recent matches - that was the ninth in the last three fixtures - but they had also been rattling up bookings at an alarming rate. Both defenders Phil Ifil and Matt Heath were flashed yellow cards for fouls inside the first quarter of the game.

It continued to be one-way traffic. Vernon should have done better when slicing well wide from Heath's knock-down in the 34th minute, and both Jackson and Anthony Wordsworth peppered the target from long range.

At the other end, Cousins was enjoying his third senior start, all of them coming this season and in this competition. He showed good handling from crosses and corners in the first period, and also pulled off one fine save, beating away a ferocious shot from Warren Cummings on 39 minutes.

Bournemouth boss Jimmy Quinn played his trump card at the start of the second-half, by introducing former England and Tottenham winger Darren Anderton as a substitute. He replaced Mark Molesley in central midfield.

But it was the U's who stayed in the driving seat. Jackson drilled wide from just inside the box, and Pryce palmed away Vernon's rasping shot on 52 minutes.

Cousins made his second eye-catching save on the hour mark. Front-runner Brett Pitman was away in the clear, and his low drive was heading for the far corner of the net until the U's keeper diverted the ball around a post with an outstretched left hand.

U's boss Lambert made two substitutions shortly afterwards. David Perkins replaced Izzet in central midfield, while leading scorer Mark Yeates came on for debutant and goalscorer Williams up front.

Yeates was soon displaying his full array of skills, and Pryce did well to prevent the Dubliner's angled shot from flying into his net in the 70th minute.

Only the woodwork denied Yeates a goal with eight minutes remaining. The ex-Tottenham winger won a free-kick, and then beat keeper Pryce from this set piece, only for his curling shot to cannon wide off the outside of the far post.

Bournemouth huffed and puffed, but rarely threatened late on. Their closest effort came from substitute Craig Lindfield, who headed wide at the near post from an 87th minute free-kick.

Squads and ratings

BOURNEMOUTH: PRYCE 8, Cooper 7, Pearce 7, Ward 6, Bradbury 6, Molesley 5 (sub Anderton, 46), Bartley 6, Hollands 6 (sub McQuoid, 71), Cummings 7, Rankine 6 (sub Lindfield, 64) and Pitman 7. Unused subs: Goulding and Jalal.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Cousins 7, WHITE 8, Baldwin 8, Heath 7, Ifil 7, Wordsworth 7, Izzet 7 (sub Perkins, 62), D Hammond 7, Jackson 7, Williams 7 (sub Yeates, 64) and Vernon 7 (sub Wasiu, 78). Unused subs: J Hammond and Gerken.

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