Ten-man U’s hold on to bury Bury
Bury 1 Colchester United 2
TEN-man Colchester United held out, under intense pressure, to record a precious victory on the road at Bury this afternoon.
It was a real backs-to-the-wall performance from the U’s, who had to play 86 minutes with a numerical disadvantage.
George Porter was sent off inside the first four minutes, after appearing to stamp on defender Carl Regan after the U’s winger had initially been fouled.
Colchester old boy Craig Fagan then drilled the Shakers in front on 26 minutes, to leave the U’s facing a mountain to climb.
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But two goals in a minute, from Josh Thompson and Clinton Morrison in the 30th and 31st minutes, put the visitors into an unlikely lead.
After that, they defended manfully for the rest of the game, while also riding their luck as Bury blew chance after chance in the second half.
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U’s boss Dunne made just one change to the side that drew 2-2 at Coventry in midweek. It was an enforced change, with Brian Wilson absent through illness.
David Wright came in at right-back, to deputise for Wilson, while the same virus also ruled out squad members Jack Compton, John White, Matt Heath and Mark Cousins.
Jabo Ibehre was serving the third of his three-match suspension, and Freddie Sears (knee) and Tom Eastman (ankle) both remained on the sidelines.
Faced with the prospect of playing 86 minutes with just 10 men, the U’s were dealt a further blow when Fagan broke the deadlock midway through the first half.
Fagan had already peppered the target with a couple of shots, the first of them a glaring miss, before making amends by firing home from Steven Schumacher’s cross from 10 yards out.
But rather than fold, the U’s came storming back to score two goals inside a minute.
Thompson rose unchallenged to head home Billy Clifford’s teasing corner from the edge of the six-yard box.
And Morrison then drilled the U’s into a 2-1 lead on 31 minutes. The ball spun loose after Gavin Massey’s shot had been charged down, and Morrison instinctively planted a first-time shot into the far corner of the net.
Sam Walker made sure that the U’s stayed in front at half-time, by pulling off a fantastic one-handed save to keep out Andy Bishop’s close-range volley.
But it was one-way traffic at the start of the second half. Schumacher missed a sitter inside two minutes of the restart, and the U’s also survived a mad goalmouth scramble when Bury had countless close-range shots blocked.
The U’s hung onto their lead, despite relentless pressure from the hosts, who had a Bishop goal ruled out for offside and also struck the bar from Schumacher’s 77th minute corner.
BURY: Carson, Skarz, Eastham, Ebanks-Landell, Regan (sub Ajose, 46), Carrington, Worrall, Schumacher, Jones (sub Healy, 86), Bishop, Fagan (sub Clarke-Harris, 72). Unused subs: Belford, Thompson, Mazague,
COLCHESTER UNITED: Walker, David Wright, Okuonghae, Thompson, Garmston, Clifford (sub Bean, 76), Bond, Porter, Morrison (sub Olufemi, 71), Massey, Smith (sub Ladapo, 90). Unused subs: Phillips, Duguid, Izzet, Drey Wright.
Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire)