Steven Gillespie spot on but U’s held to home draw
Colchester United 1 Scunthorpe United 1
COLCHESTER United had to be content with a home draw against stubborn Scunthorpe this afternoon.
Steven Gillespie converted a 27th minute penalty to cancel out Josh Walker’s eighth minute opener, but the U’s could not make their first-half dominance count.
And it was Iron, struggling at the wrong end of the table, who took charge after the break. They certainly looked the more likely winners as the game wore on.
Walker broke the deadlock after just eight minutes, on what was his Scunthorpe debut – he had only signed on from Watford 24 hours earlier.
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Brian Wilson was caught in possession down the near corner flag, with winger Andy Barcham stealing the ball and then delivering into the danger zone.
Walker made room for himself but the midfielder’s final shot still took a wicked deflection off defender Tom Eastman as the ball looped over stranded keeper Ben Williams and into the roof of the net.
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The U’s were deservedly back on level terms in the 27th minute, via Gillespie’s penalty.
Slocombe did well to palm away James’ deflected 20-yard shot, but Gillespie latched onto the loose ball and was clearly tripped by Eddie Nolan.
It was a rash challenge by the Iron left-back, because it was unlikely that Gillespie would have scored from such a position, wide of goal.
Gillespie picked himself up to sweep home the spot kick, sending Slocombe the wrong way. It was only his third goal of the campaign, and his first since netting the equaliser at Scunthorpe in early September.
The U’s had bossed the first period, and visiting keeper Slocombe rode his luck with a string of unorthodox saves – more often than not the ball would fly off his boot or trailing leg, rather than his hands.
But the hosts could not capitalise, and Scunthorpe improved after the break. In fact, they were close to regaining their lead on the hour mark when Walker’s goalbound shot was deflected wide off his own team-mate, Jordan Robertson.
The U’s also suffered a blow when striker Kayode Odejayi, on as a 73rd minute header, only lasted four minutes before hobbling off with what looked a recurrence of his recent toe injury.
Slocombe saved well from a Wordsworth free-kick and Gillespie shot in stoppage time to frustrate the U’s.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Williams, Wilson, Okuonghae, Eastman, White, James (sub Odejayi, 73, sub O’Toole, 77), Wordsworth, Bond, Duguid, Gillespie, Henderson. Unused subs: Baldwin, Izzet, Coker.
SCUNTHORPE UNITED: Slocombe, Ribeiro, Reid, Canavan, Nolan, Togwell, O’Connor, Walker, Thompson, Robertson (sub Jennings, 70) Barcham. Unused subs: Wright, Duffy, Palmer, Lillis.
Referee: Mr D Phillips (West Sussex)