Taylor on target as U’s draw again
Bristol City 1 Colchester United 1
Giant defender Matt Taylor bagged his first goal for Colchester United, although Joe Dunne’s men were left hanging on for a point at still winless Bristol City this afternoon.
Taylor gleefully headed home to break the deadlock on the half-hour mark.
The Bradford City loanee nipped in between two defenders, at the far post, to head home Luke Garbutt’s excellent cross.
City dominated the second half and it was no real surprise when they finally levelled in the 74th minute, an unmarked Sam Baldock sweeping home substitute Stephen McLaughlin’s cross.
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Both sides had started with 4-4-2 formations, an unusual system for U’s boss Joe Dunne, who had tended to favour a 4-2-3-1 set-up during his first year on the hot seat.
Freddie Sears, playing alongside Jabo Ibehre up front, was off target with an early attempted lob over keeper Elliot Parish, which dropped high and wide.
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At the other end, Garbutt did well to cut out a cross on 11 minutes, which would have otherwise presented Scott Wagstaff with a great chance to head home the opener.
Four minutes later and Garbutt was in the spotlight for the wrong reason. The Everton loanee ploughed into Brendan Moloney with a late tackle, and was not surprisingly shown the yellow card by referee David Phillips.
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, boosted by seven goals in all competitions this season, fancied his chances from long range on 17 minutes. But he screwed his effort so badly that it nearly hit the corner flag.
It was the U’s who registered the game’s first shot on target, as late as the 23rd minute, but Sears’ fierce shot from just inside the box flew straight into the arms of Parish.
City’s first goal attempt brought the best out of Sam Walker. Winger Scott Wagstaff burst clear through the middle, unchallenged, and his rising 30-yarder was on target until Walker intervened with an acrobatic save.
However, it was the U’s who took the lead, thanks to Taylor’s first goal for the club on the half-hour mark. He nodded home Garbutt’s cross.
Ibehre spurned a good chance to double the lead just 60 seconds later, but he blasted over the top from Sears’ intelligent lay-off.
Bristol soaked up a good deal of pressure, before their skipper, Baldock, really should have equalised in the 38th minute.
Balcock was lurking on the edge of the six-yard, but he construed to scoop his close range shot over the bar from Joe Bryan’s cross.
Emmanuel-Thomas, the liveliest player on the park for City, made Walker work hard to preserve his clean-sheet before the interval.
First he made room for himself before blasting in an angled shot which Walker clutched to his midriff, in front of his near post.
Then, on 45 minutes, the ex-Ipswich front-runner outwitted a couple of defenders before unleashing a stinging long-range shot. Again Walker was a match for it, turning the ball around his post for a corner.
City turned on the heat at the start of the second half, and manager Sean O’Driscoll bolstered his attack by introducing experienced striker Marlon Harewood as a 55th minute substitute.
But the U’s were defending well, and they were not unduly worried until defender Derrick Williams threatened from close in on 67 minutes. His shot from a corner rolled conveniently into the hands of Walker.
However, City did grab the equaliser in the 74th minute, tucking home at the far post from McLaughlin’s low cross.
Emmanuel-Thomas was not far adrift with a thumping long-range rocket in the 85th minute, and the U’s nearly stole victory themselves with a swift break on 89 minutes, which ended with Parish saving Alex Gilbey’s powerful shot.
There was still time for Ibehre to squander a one-on-one change in injury-time, and for Nicky Shorey to strike a 96th minute free-kick into the defensive wall.
BRISTOL CITY: Parish, Moloney, Flint, Shorey, Williams, Wagstaff (sub Elliott, 88), Reid (sub Harewood, 55), Bryan (sub McLaughlin, 66), Pack, Emmanuel-Thomas, Baldock. Unused subs: Fielding, Cunningham, Taylor, Brundle.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Walker, Wilson, Okuonghae, Taylor, Garbutt, David Wright, Eastmond (sub Szmodics, 82), Monakana (sub Bean, 62), Gilbey, Sears (sub Morrison, 82), Ibehre. Unused subs: Phillips, Sanderson, Ladapo, Sendles-White.
Referee: David Phillips (West Sussex)
Attendance: 10,739 (318 away fans)