U’s held in six-goal thriller
npower League One Colchester United 3 Charlton Athletic 3 SPIRITED Colchester United ended up with a point from this six-goal thriller after playing most of the match with 10 men.
Matt Heath and Andy Bond twice put the U’s in front in the first half, but twice ex-U’s midfielder Johnnie Jackson scored equalising penalties for Charlton with the U’s reduced to 10 men five minutes before the break when David Perkins received his marching orders for handling on the line.
Colchester put in a spirited display after the restart and once again got their noses in front when Anthony Wordsworth fired home in the 64th minute.
Paul Benson’s overhead kick levelled things up again in the 76th minute though, he then had a potential winner controversially disallowed before getting sent-off two minutes from time for a lunge on John White.
U’s boss John Ward made six changes to his side from their 0-0 home draw against Yeovil three weeks’ previous – three of them in the back four.
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Brian Wilson (ankle), Pat Baldwin (ill), Tom Williams (groin), Kemi Izzet (ill) were all enforced absentees, while Ian Henderson and Kayode Odejayi dropped to the bench.
In their place came John White, Matt Heath, Lee Beevers, David Mooney, Andy Bond and Lloyd James as Ward reverted to his early season 4-3-3 formation
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Despite this, Colchester made a fine start and took the lead in the 15th minute when Matt Heath stooped to head home an Anthony Wordsworth corner.
And with Gary Doherty fortunate to get away with two glaring errors at the back it looked as though the U’s were the more likely to get the next goal.
However, Charlton equalised in the 17th minute as ex-U’s midfielder Johnnie Jackson slotted home a controversially awarded penalty. Andy Bond appeared to have cleanly won his slide tackle on Ipswich Town loanee Lee Martin in the box, but the referee ruled he had handled the ball on the floor.
In an action-packed first half the U’s soon had a penalty appeal themselves turned down as the referee booked David Mooney for a dive following a coming to with Doherty in the area.
Colchester continued to play some composed football though and got their reward in the 24th minute when Bond finished off a fantastic move. Lloyd James found Ashley Vincent with a fine pass out right, the winger beat his man and then cut the ball back for the arriving Bond to clip home.
The U’s pushed for a third but were denied as Vincent had a fierce drive blocked and Bond saw a volley well-saved by keeper Rob Elliot at the near post.
Charlton, having been second best for most of the first half, found themselves level and with a man advantage five minutes before the break courtesy of another Jackson spot-kick.
This time a penalty was awarded after David Perkins blocked Paul Benson’s towering header from a corner on the line with his arm. The U’s midfielder, who put up little protest, was given a straight red card and Jackson slotted home his second from the spot, despite keeper Ben Williams this time guessing the right way.
The 10-men of Colchester were barely troubled in the opening 15 minutes of the first half and even created a few half-chances themselves.
Charlton made a double substitution in an attempt to increase the pressure, but it was Colchester who took the lead for the third time in the match after 64 minutes. Charlton didn’t deal with Vincent’s excellent ball into the box and an alert Wordsworth was there to fire home with his weaker right-foot on the turn.
The U’s could have had a fourth soon afterwards as the hard-working Mooney, desperate to prove a point against his former loan club whose fans booed him throughout, twice fired over from long-range.
This rollercoaster match took another twist in the 76th minute when Benson scored with a fine overhead kick following substiturte Pawel Abbott’s excellent headed flick on.
Charlton raised their game after the equaliser and pressed hard for a winner against the 10-men hosts. They thought they’d got it in 84th minute when Benson put a towering header into the back of the net, only for it to be chalked off as the striker had held down marker John White when jumping.
The drama was still not over though as Charlton themselves ended the match with 10-men after Benson was given a straight red card for a lunge on White two minutes from time.
– Reaction to follow.
COLCHESTER UTD (4-3-3): Williams; Beevers, White, Heath, Reid; Bond, James, Perkins; Vincent (I Henderson 76), Wordsworth, Mooney (Odejayi 76).
Unused Subs: Cousins, Bender, Coker, L Henderson, Gillespie.
Booked: Mooney (19).
CHARLTON ATH (4-4-2): Elliot; Francis, Fry, Doherty, Dailly; Wagstaff (Reid 59), Jackson, Semedo, Racon (Abbott 59); Martin, Benson.
Unused Subs: Worner, Sodje, McCormack, Fortune, Seip.
Booked: Dailly (37).
U’s Man-of-the-Match: Lloyd James
Attendance: 6,112 Referee: Mr Pat Miller