Super Steve on the spot
SPOT kick specialist Steven Gillespie put a nightmarish run of injuries behind him to help Colchester United overcome their home jitters yesterday.
SPOT kick specialist Steven Gillespie put a nightmarish run of injuries behind him to help Colchester United overcome their home jitters with a 1-0 win over Leyton Orient.
Gillespie converted a 38th minute penalty, on what was only his fifth league start of the season, to chalk up the U's third home win from 12 attempts since their summer move to the new Community Stadium.
Front-runner Gillespie has been dogged by injuries since his £400,000 switch from Cheltenham Town, but the U's club record signing made the most of his first start for 64 days.
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“I'm gradually getting back. I didn't know I was starting the match until 2pm (an hour before kick-off), but that's the way the gaffer likes to do things,” explained Gillespie.
“I've spent so much time in the treatment room this season. I've been in-and-out for months, but the medical staff have worked so hard, especially Tony Flynn (physio).
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“We felt that we should take a bit longer to get me back this time, because I didn't want to break down again. I don't want to miss any more games for the rest of the season through injury, if I can help it.
“I didn't feel my hamstring, and I tested it by running full pelt a couple of times to get behind the defence. I'm feeling sharper and looking stronger.
“I'm getting closer to 100%, though I don't think I could have lasted the full 90 minutes. In the end Clive Platt came on for me. I was beginning to tire,” added Gillespie.
Former Liverpool trainee Gillespie had scored twice on his U's debut at Hartlepool on the opening day of the season, but a string of injuries and also a suspension had delayed his third league goal until yesterday.
He will now be looking to kick on during the second half of the campaign.
Gillespie continued: “We are now in the top half of the table, which is a big thing for us. We targeted three wins from four games before the Leeds match, and we've ended up beating that by getting 10 points.
“A few of the lads have mentioned the play-offs, and the manager looks like he'll be strengthening the squad in January. That can only be a good thing.
“I have always liked to take penalties, throughout my career. It's a great way to boost your goals tally,” added Gillespie.