Ten-man U’s denied late on

Rochdale 2 Colchester United 2

COLCHESTER United, down to 10 men for more than an hour, were denied a deserved away win by Gary Jones’ 88th minute equaliser at Rochdale this afternoon.

Goals from Ian Henderson and Kayode Odejayi saw the U’s race into a 2-0 lead, but any hopes of just a regulation away win were soon dispelled by Magnus Okuonghae’s sending-off just before the half-hour mark for a professional foul.

Rochdale halved the U’s lead before the break, through defender Marcus Holness’ pinpoint header, and the 10-man visitors then had to dig deep throughout the second period.

They looked to have weathered the storm, but hesitation in the box by makeshift centre-halves John White and Brian Wilson enabled Jones to ram home the equaliser and so secure a share of the spoils.

The U’s were in complete control for the first 25 minutes of this clash, and were coasting at 2-0 up.

Henderson obliged with a terrific 25-yard free-kick that flew low past keeper Jake Kean to hand the U’s a third minute lead. It was his fifth goal of the season.

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The visitors doubled their lead in 14 minutes. The impressive Michail Antonio, once again the U’s best player in the first half, delivered a cross from the right wing which was helped on by Anthony Wordsworth for Odejayi to bundle home.

The U’s had several other chances to add to their tally during this early period, with Rochdale struggling to even get out of their own half.

But the whole complexion of the game was transformed by Magnus Okuonghae’s dismissal for a professional foul in the 29th minute.

Okuonghae allowed winger Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro to get the wrong side of him, and then tripped him up on the edge of the box. The U’s defender can have no complaints with his red card.

Down to 10 men for the final 61 minutes, the U’s saw their lead halved in the 43rd minute. Defender Marcus Holness headed home Nicky Adams’ cross with power and accuracy to leave the U’s nursing a 2-1 lead at the interval.

There were more problems for the visitors when Matt Heath hobbled off with a foot injury within two minutes of the restart.

That left the U’s with no recognised centre-halves on the pitch – regular full-backs Wilson and White were the new centre-half partnership.

Rochdale bossed possession for the remainder of the game, but the U’s did not budge an inch until Jones’ late, late equaliser.

Squads

ROCHDALE: Kean, Darby, Holness, Trotman, Balkestein, Barnes-Homer (sub Benali, 46), Jones, Adams, Tutte, Grimes, Akpa-Akpro. Unused subs: Barry-Murphy, Kennedy, Twaddle, Lucas.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Williams, Wilson, Okuonghae, Heath (sub Duguid, 47), Coker, Izzet, Bond, Wordsworth, Henderson (sub White, 32), Odejayi, Antonio (sub O’Toole, 81). Unused subs: Gillespie, James.

Referee: Mr Dave Webb (County Durham)

Attendance: 2,226

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