Sanchez Watt and Freddie Sears on target as 10-man Colchester United win at O’s
Leyton Orient 0 Colchester United 2
Colchester United celebrated their first victory of the season, against the odds, at Leyton Orient this afternoon.
Despite having to play the whole of the second half with just 10 men, following Magnus Okuonghae’s red card, the U’s clinched all three points thanks to deadly finishes by Sanchez Watt and Freddie Sears on 62 and 72 minutes respectively.
Okuonghae was sent off in the 44th minute, for a rash challenge on David Mooney.
It looked a late tackle by Okuonghae, and was perhaps a little high, but on another day the U’s skipper would probably have escaped with a yellow card.
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However, the 10 men began the second half in impressive fashion, and they broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute, thanks to Watt’s deadly finish.
The U’s caught the O’s on the break, with Sears bursting through the middle.
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Sears released Watt with a well-weighted pass, and the ex-Arsenal man showed good speed and strength to fend off Marvin Bartley and then bury a low shot past keeper Gary Woods.
And 10 minutes later the U’ were in dream-land as Sears made the most of a defensive error to cut into the penalty area and then guide his shot beyond an exposed Woods, into the far corner of the net.
Manager Tony Humes had named an unchanged side from his first game in charge, a goalless draw at Walsall last weekend.
And he watched his side start brightly at Brisbane Road, with Sears blasting over from 20 yards out after just three minutes.
The O’s, who had drawn their three previous league games, struggled to get going. Debutant Michael Petrasso, signed on loan from QPR, did swing over a dangerous cross from the right, but Tom Eastman was in the right place to intercept for a corner.
Sean Clohessy put his side under pressure by conceding a needless free-kick near the corner flag, on 20 minutes. Mooney’s delivery, from the ensuing free-kick, was stabbed wide at the near post by Darius Henderson.
Two minutes later and it was George Moncur’s turn to concede a free-kick in a dangerous position.
Moncur lost the ball to Mooney and then chopped down Petrasso as he attempted to make amends for his mistake, so earning himself an unwanted yellow card. Mooney’s free-kick drifted wide of the far post with Walker untroubled.
In fact, neither team managed a shot on target during the first half-hour.
Ex-U’s loanee Mooney did have a chance to break the deadlock in the 34th minute, as Nathan Clarke, another former U’s player, whipped over a cross from the right flank. The ball found its way through to Mooney, who was unmarked at the far post, although the Irishman sliced his shot wide.
There was a scare for the U’s in the 38th minute when Walker dived at the feet of Baudry, to prevent the defender from scoring from close-in. Appeals for a penalty were waved away, and the follow-up shot by Dagnall was deflected off target.
The U’s were coming under pressure and Dagnall was unlucky to see his powerful header soar a foot over the bar, from Scott Cuthbert’s excellent cross on 41 minutes.
But there was a real setback for the visitors, just before half-time, when Okuonghae was sent off for a rash challenge on Mooney.
That meant the U’s would be playing the last half of the match with just 10 men.
However, the depleted visitors began the second half well, and had two gilt-edged chances to score inside the first five minutes.
Gavin Massey screwed wide, from inside the penalty area, after a good U’s move, and Sears then scampered clear of the O’s defence, only for his goal-bound shot to be deflected away by keeper Gary Woods.
At the other end substitute Frankie Kent, who had come on following Okuonghae’s dismissal, made an important challenge to deny Dagnall an almost certain goal, from Petrasso’s cross into the six-yard box.
But the U’s stunned the home crowd by then taking the lead, thanks to Watt’s excellent finish just after the hour mark.
And Walker protected that lead by pulling off a great save to keep out Shane Lowry’s goal-bound header, from Dean Cox’s 66th minute corner.
Three minutes later and only the acrobatics of Woods prevented the U’s from doubling their lead.
Defender Baudry made a hash of an attempted clearance and suddenly Sears had just Woods to beat, although he could not direct his shot beyond the O’s keeper, who blocked at point blank range.
However, Woods had no chance as Sears duly wrapped up the win with his third goal of the campaign, with 18 minutes remaining.
LEYTON ORIENT: Woods, Baudry, Cuthbert (sub Simpson, 82), Clarke, Lowry, Petrasso (sub McAnuff, 69), Pritchard, Bartley (sub Cox, 65), Henderson, Dagnall, Mooney. Unused subs: Grainger, Omozusi, Batt, Lee.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Walker, Clohessy, Okuonghae, Eastman, Gordon, Gilbey, Szmodics (sub Kent, 45), Moncur (sub Vose, 80), Massey, Sears, Watt (sub Eastmond, 73). Unused subs: Lewington, David Wright, Lawrence, Bonne.
Referee: Keith Stroud
Attendance: 5,313 (711 away fans)