U’s denied victory by late leveller at struggling Exeter
Exeter City 1 Colchester United 1
COLCHESTER United old boy Jamie Cureton denied his former club victory by conjuring up an 82nd minute equaliser at St James’ Park this afternoon.
The U’s seemed to be heading for a first win in seven games, which would have condemned hosts Exeter City to a sixth defeat on the bounce.
But with 82 minutes on the clock, Steve Tully swung over a cross from the right and Cureton appeared to glance a header past Ben WIlliams, although there was a suspicion that it might go down as an own goal, because Magnus Okuonghae got the final touch.
Karl Duguid had broken the deadlock for the U’s, thanks to his sixth minute goal in deepest Devon.
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It was the veteran’s 45th league goal in a Colchester shirt, and it seemed as though it would put another nail in Exeter’s relegation coffin.
Club stalwart Duguid, one of four players recalled to the U’s starting line-up (the others were Matt Heath, Michael Rose and Kem Izzet) was in inspired form during the first half.
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His early goal was a direct and yet so simple finish.
Rose’s through ball caught the Grecians defence napping, and right-back Richard Duffy in particular, enabling the alert Duguid to burst through uncontested to beat the onrushing Artur Krysiak with a calm finish.
Operating as a left winger during the early stages, Duguid switched to the right flank and nearly added a second goal in the 17th minute.
Duguid trapped Anthony Wordsworth’s lofted pass and swivelled before trying to lob Krysiak, from just inside the penalty area. But his effort lacked height and the Grecians keeper gobbled up.
Exeter showed little as an attacking force in the first half, and did not seriously threaten Ben Williams until the 44th minute when Daniel Nardellio’s angled volley was smothered by the U’s keeper.
Into first-half injury-time and Rose almost doubled the lead. The U’s left-back let fly with a thunderous free-kick that clipped the outside of the far post.
Exeter huffed and puffed, but without unduly worrying the U’s in the second period, until the introduction of substitute Jamie Cureton.
The ex-U’s frontrunner came close to scoring against his old club, but he just failed to divert home Elliott Frear’s cross from point blank range.
However, Cureton caused a nuisance of himself in the 82nd minute, by nodding home Tully’s precise cross for the equaliser.
And he could have won it late on, with the U’s hanging on.
Twice Cureton peppered the target in injury-time.
EXETER CITY: Krysiak, Duffy (sub Tully, 64), Archibald-Henville, Fortune (sub Frear, 45+1), Baldwin, Dunne, Noble, McNish, Gow (sub Cureton, 60) Dalla Valle, Nardiello. Unused subs: Pidgeley, Taylor.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Williams, Wilson, Okuonghae, Heath, Rose, Duguid, Izzet, Bond, Henderson, Wordsworth, Odejayi (sub Gillespie, 87). Unused subs: Vincent, Sears, Massey, White.
Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lins)