U’s finish 10th despite heavy loss to Magpies
Notts County 4 Colchester United 1
COLCHESTER United crashed to their jont heaviest away defeat of the season, at the hands of Notts County on the final day.
The Magpies needed to win, to stand a chance of making the play-offs, but Stevenage’s 3-0 home win over Bury denied them a top six berth.
The U’s were blown away by three goals inside a 14-minute period of the first period, with Jeff Hughes, Daniel Bogdnaovic and Alan Judge all on target for the dominant hosts.
And Kieron Freeman netted a quickfire fourth, early in the second half, which at the time was set to eclipse the U’s previous heaviest away loss, 4-1 at Bury last month.
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But an injury-time thunderbolt from Anthony Wordsworth at least matched that 4-1 reverse.
Despite this loss, the U’s still finished in 10th spot due to defeats for Bury and Hartlepool.
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U’s boss John Ward made one change to the side that had beaten Tranmere Rovers 4-2 in their final home game of the season last weekend.
Striker Kayode Odejayi was dropped to the bench, having struggled with injury during the week.
In came Karl Duguid, who started the game as a holding midfielder. Ian Henderson was pushed into a central striker’s role.
But the U’s were decidedly second best, as they leaked three unanswered goals in a very disappointing first period.
County broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute through Jeff Hughes. Left-back Alan Sheehan swung over a corner and midfielder Hughes steamed in to head home from the edge of the six-yard box, despite the efforts of Brian Wilson on the goal-line.
Nine minutes later and the Magpies doubled their lead, with Blackpool loanee Bogdanovic heading home emphatically from six yards out.
It was 3-0 on 41 minutes as Williams was beaten all ends up by Judge. The free-scoring midfielder let rip from fully 25 yards with a rising shot that left Williams clutching at thin air.
Into the second-half and it did not get much better for the visitors.
County netted their fourth in the 51st minute, thanks to Freeman’s smart finish. The over-lapping Freeman latched onto Lloyd Sam’s pass and cut inside before clipping an angled shot beyond Williams, and into the far corner of the net.
It was a rather subdued atmosphere during the final half-hour, because Stevenage’s lead over Bury ensured that the Magpies could not get into the play-offs.
The U’s were denied a consolation goal on 81 minutes when Wordsworth’s curling free-kick struck the inside of the post and stayed out.
But Wordsworth did find the back of the net in the last minute of stoppage time, thanks to a crisp volley from just inside the box.
NOTTS COUNTY: Nelson (sub Spiess, 75), Sheehan, Edwards, Stewart, Bishop (sub Mahon, 71), J Hughes, Judge, Freeman, Sam, Bogdanovic, Adebola (sub L Hughes, 64). Unused subs: Demontagnac, Harley.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Williams, Wilson, Okuonghae, Eastman, White, Duguid, Bond (sub Sears, 62), James (sub O’Toole, 77), Wordsworth, Rose (sub Odejayi, 46) Henderson. Unused subs: Heath, Hamilton.
Referee:Scott Mathieson (Cheshire)