U's earn precious away victory

Sheffield Wednesday 1 Colchester United 2By Carl MarstonTEDDY Sheringham scored after just 48 seconds to send Colchester United on their way to a precious away victory at Sheffield Wednesday this afternoon.

Sheffield Wednesday 1 Colchester United 2

By Carl Marston

TEDDY Sheringham scored after just 48 seconds to send Colchester United on their way to a precious away victory at Sheffield Wednesday this afternoon.

It was the U's first victory in eight games, and it was fully deserved for a terrific performance. They created chances all afternoon.

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Sheringham stunned the Hillsborough crowd with his early strike, inside the first minute. He coolly fired home an angled shot from the left fringe of the penalty area, giving keeper Lee Grant no chance.

And it got better for the visitors when George Elokobi doubled the lead in the 25th minute. The Cameroon-born left-back stabbed home at the second attempt, following a corner by Mark Yeates.

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Wednesday were poor defensively all afternoon, but they halved the deficit before half-time, thanks to Akpo Sodje's close range effort from Steve Watson's low cross.

United had chances to kill off the game in the second period. Elokobi missed a sitter from another corner, and Kevin Lisbie was denied by a smart block from keeper Grant.

Dean Gerken made a great late save to keep out Glenn Whelan's long-range thunderbolt, and so ensure a first win since the 3-2 home success over West Brom on October 20.

United enjoyed the perfect start, thanks to SHERINGHAM'S goal after just 48 seconds. It was his third goal in a U's shirt, in what was his first start for 11 weeks.

Sheringham was in acres of space as he was able to control McLeod's flick-on and then beat keeper Lee Grant with a clinical strike, from the left-edge of the penalty area.

Sheringham turned creator in the ninth minute. His delightful cross from the right flank looped over keeper Grant, and it needed a desperate clearance from Frank Simek to prevent McLeod from converting at the far post. From the ensuing corner, the U's first of the afternoon, defender Beevers headed emphatically clear.

The two wingers combined to set up a great chance for Kevin Lisbie in the 24th minute. McLeod controlled Yeates' pass and whipped over a deep cross to the far post, where Lisbie saw his goal-bound volley blocked by keeper Grant with his legs.

But United were two-up just a minute later, with ELOKOBI on target for his first goal of the season.

It was terrible marking from Wednesday, who left Elokobi on his own in the six-yard box from Yeates' corner. Elokobi scuffed his first shot, but then gratefully stabbed home at the second attempt into the roof of the net from point blank range.

Colchester nearly scored a third on 26 minutes, only for Beevers to block Sheringham's goal-bound shot, the ball flying wide for a corner.

Wednesday had the ball in the back of the net in the 34th minute, although the assistant referee had already raised his flag for offside long before Sodje glanced home.

But they did pull a goal back on 35 minutes, thanks to SODJE'S close-range effort. Skipper Watson drilled over a fierce low drive from the right flank, and striker Sodje stretched out a boot to bundle the ball home, even though Gerken managed to half-block the effort.

It was former Port Vale striker Sodje's fifth goal in the last six matches.

A minute later and the Owls were nearly level. American-born right-back Simek had scored in Wednesday's 2-0 win in this fixture last season, and this time he burst clear of the defence, only to crash his shot straight at Gerken, who did well to save.

It had been a breathless first-half, and it ended with Yeates smashing a long-range shot over the bar in stoppage time.

The U's made a change at the start of the second-half, with Pat Baldwin replacing Connolly in the heart of defence. The Arsenal loanee had picked up a leg injury towards the end of the first-half.

Wednesday struggled to make an impact in the second half and Elokobi should really have scored his second goal of the game in the 66th minute. Sheringham flicked on Jackson's corner and Elokobi was just a few feet out. However, the U's left-back could not force the ball past keeper Grant from point-blank range.

The U's should have put this game to bed, and Lisbie was through on goal when having a shot blocked by the onrushing Grant. McLeod's shot from the follow-up was deflected wide. So still the U's lead was just one goal.

There was a blow for the U's when Izzet was booked for a foul in the 85th minute. That was Izzet's fifth booking of the season, which means a suspension.

Gerken preserved the U's slender lead with a superb save on 87 minutes. The young keeper dropped down to his right to claw away Whelan's goal-bound 20-yarder, and although Sodje eventually rammed home the rebound, the assistant referee had already raised his flag for offside.

The U's held on for a deserved victory.


SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Grant 6, Simek 7, Hinds 6, Beevers 5, Spurr 6, J Johnson 6, Whelan 8, Watson 7, O'Brien 6 (sub Esajas, 71), Tudgay 5 (sub Small, 64), Sodje 7. Unused subs: Bullen, Lunt, Burch.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken 7, Duguid 7, Virgo 8, Connolly 7 (sub Baldwin, 46, 7), Elokobi 7, Yeates 7, Izzet 8, Jackson 7, McLeod 7, Sheringham 9 (sub Platt, 73), Lisbie 7. Unused subs: Guy, Guttridge, Cousins.

Referee: Tony Bates (Staffordshire)

Attendance: 22,331

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