Steven Gillespie brace seals first league double
Colchester United 3 Preston North End 0
A BRACE from Steven Gillespie ensured a first league double of the season for impressive Colchester United this afternoon.
Having hammered Preston 4-2 at Deepdale, on the opening day of the season, the U’s again proved too strong for the Lilywhites at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
Gillespie broke the deadlock with his eighth goal of the season in the 18th minute, against the run of play.
Preston had already had a goal disallowed for offside, against Chris Robertson, after the defender had helped home Graham Cummins’ goalbound header, and had also hit the woodwork with George Miller’s 25-yarder on 16 minutes – the midfielder’s effort hit the underside of the bar.
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But it was the U’s who grabbed the lead. Anthony Wordsworth climbed high to meet Martin Rowlands’ corner with a powerful header, and Gillespie turned to steer the ball over the line from point blank range.
The U’s came close to doubling their lead on 21 minutes.
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Tom Eastman’s goalbound header, from Rowlands’ excellent corner, was cleared off the goal-line. A mad goalmouth scramble ensued, and although the ball was eventually bundled over the line, referee Lee Collins had already blown his whistle for a foul.
Preston so nearly forced an equaliser at the end of the first period. Paul Parry delivered a free-kick into the danger zone and defender Aaron Brown’s header was deflected narrowly wide of the far post.
But the visitors were trailing 2-0, within seven minutes of the restart, thanks to Gillespie’s spot kick.
The U’s were awarded the penalty, for handball by Paul Coutts, and Gillespie stepped up to crash home the spot kick, even though keeper Thorsten Stuckmann guessed the right way.
Preston rarely looked like finding a way back into this game, although keeper Ben Williams made a fine double save to deny Jamie Proctor and Cummins on 83 minutes.
Andy Bond netted the U’s third in stoppage time. He exchanged a slick one-two with Ian Henderson before beating Stuckmann with a sweet finish.
The U’s deserved this win, and it was the perfect way for Kem Izzet to celebrate his 400th league appearance for the U’s.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Williams, Wilson, Okuonghae, Eastman, White, Henderson, Rowlands (sub Rose, 89), Izzet (sub Bond, 74), Wordsworth, Gillespie (sub Duguid, 80), Odejayi. Unused subs: Heath, Sears.
PRESTON NORTH END: Stuckmann, Hunt, Robertson, Brown, Parry, Miller, A Procter, Smith (sub J Proctor, 58), Coutts, Murphy (sub Hume, 58), Cummins. Unused subs: Nicholson, Devine, Arestidou.
Referee: Mr L Collins (Surrey)