U’s cut to shreds by Blades
Sheffield United 3 Colchester United 0
COLCHESTER United crashed to a heavy defeat at impressive Sheffield United this afternoon.
The damage was done early on as the leaky U’s conceded two goals inside the first 12 minutes through strikers Ched Evans and Chris Porter.
Stephen Quinn added a third goal in the 73rd minute, although in truth it could have been even worse because the hosts also hit the woodwork on no fewer than three occasions during a one-sided contest.
Evans broke the deadlock after just three minutes. The U’s could only half-clear a corner and Porter nodded on Kevin McDonald’s cross for an unmarked Evans to turn and lash home from the edge of the six-yard box.
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Nine minutes later and it was 2-0. Defender Matt Heath was caught out by Harry Maguire’s long ball over the top and Porter raced through to lob the onrushing Mark Cousins.
The Blades had to wait until the 73rd minute to score their third goal, with left winger Stephen Quinn firing home.
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That was game, set and match.
U’s boss John Ward made just one change to the side that secured a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Brentford in midweek. Reading loanee Michail Antonio was relegated to the bench, with Andy Bond coming in for his first league start of the season.
The visitors were caught cold by Evans’ opening goal, after just three minutes, following the Blades’ second corner of the game. It was Evans’ second goal of the season.
They threatened a quick equaliser when Anthony Wordsworth was able to help on Lloyd James’ corner. But defender Magnus Okuonghae could only head across the face of goal and wide.
And the U’s really faced a mountain to climb when Porter charged through to lob Cousins and increase the lead to 2-0 after just 12 minutes. It was Porter’s third goal of the campaign.
It was nearly 3-0 on 22 minutes. Lee Williamson had a clear sight of goal, only for his shot to be superbly blocked by Cousins at point blank range.
Play quickly switched to the other end and Ian Henderson at least tested Steve Simonsen with a low drive that the Blades keeper saved down on his haunches.
Chances continued to flow at both ends. Blades striker Evans was denied his second goal of the afternoon by the woodwork in the 31st minute, while for the U’s both Wordsworth and Bond were thwarted by Simonsen following one-on-ones with the home keeper.
Into the second half and the Yorkshire club had a goal ruled out for offside in the 58th minute. Cousins blocked well from skipper Michael Doyle’s snap shot, and although the follow-up header by Evans soared into the net, the assistant referee’s flag had already been raised.
The Blades were twice denied by the woodwork before finally scoring their third goal.
Porter hit the near post from a narrow angle, and right-back Matt Lowton rattled the bar. But the U’s luck finally ran out when Quinn slotted home the decisive third in the 73rd minute.
SHEFFIELD UNITED: Simonsen, Lowton, Maguire, Collins (sub Jean-Francois, 87), Williams, Williamson, McDonald, Doyle, Quinn (sub Flynn, 77), Evans (sub Cresswell, 74), Porter. Unused subs: Mendez-Laing, Long.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Cousins, Wilson, Okuonghae, Heath (sub Baldwin, 35), Coker, Izzet (sub Gillespie, 63) James (sub Antonio, 73), Wordsworth, Bond, Odejayi, Henderson. Unused subs: Rose, Duguid.
Referee: Darren Deadman (Cambs)