U's hold high-flying Scunthorpe

COLCHESTER United failed to shake off their home blues, but they played well in a goalless stalemate with high-flying Scunthorpe.

Carl Marston

Colchester United 0 Scunthorpe United 0

COLCHESTER United failed to shake off their home blues, but they played well in a goalless stalemate with high-flying Scunthorpe.

The U's have now won just two of their first 12 games at their new Community Stadium, yet they peppered the target on a frustrating afternoon.

And substitute Steve Gillespie nearly claimed all three points for the U's in the last minute of normal time. He dragged his shot agonisingly wide following Dean Hammond's excellent through ball.

Ironically, although the Iron were second best for most of the afternoon, they actually had the two best chances of the match. Both of them fell to striker Gary Hooper, and on both counts he failed to beat keeper Jimmy Walker.

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But it would be rough justice on Colchester if they had been denied even a point.

It was a very quiet opening, with the U's in the early ascendancy. Dean Hammond whipped over a marvellous low cross on three minutes, which was just too strong for Scott Vernon, while Kem Izzet volleyed well over the top from Mark Yeates' eighth minute cross.

Yeates again caused problems down the left flank with a teasing run. The Dubliner charged past Gary Thompson and delivered a cross for the onrushing David Perkins to rifle over the bar from a promising position.

Scunthorpe did not threaten until the 18th minute. Leading scorer Gary Hooper sneaked beyond the U's back-line but blasted his shot over the top with Jimmy Walker untroubled.

Midway through the first-half and both sides were guilty of glaring misses. Hooper had the easiest of the two when he raced through on goal from Thompson's header.

The ex-Southend striker looked certain to score, but he completely scuffed his shot and a relieved Walker scooped up. That was a howler.

The U's should have scored themselves just 60 seconds later. Platt knocked down for fellow striker Vernon, who made a hash of his first-time shot with just Joe Murphy to beat eight yards from goal. His weak effort appeared to ricochet off his trailing leg.

Main danger-man Yeates nearly broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute. He was initially body-checked by full-back Andrew Wright, who was duly booked, and the winger's cracking effort from the ensuing free-kick was clawed away in some desperation by keeper Murphy.

Murphy diverted the ball around his near post for a corner, and Yeates threatened again from this set piece as his cross-cum-shot was punched away by Iron's over-worked keeper.

The U's had certainly shaded the first-half and Perkins nearly scored with a delightful half-volley from the edge of the box on 42 minutes. Murphy caught the ball under his bar.

Half-time: Colchester 0 Scunthorpe 0

The visitors created the first chance of the second period. Walker stood up well to block a stinging shot from left-winger Martyn Woolford, while at the other end Yeates was not far adrift with a thumping 20-yarder on 52 minutes.

The home fans were really getting behind their team, and they were nearly rewarded with a goal in the 59th minute. Platt's downward header was cleared off the line by defender Krystian Pearce.

Lambert made a double change in the 65th minute. On came substitutes Johnnie Jackson and Steven Gillespie for Kem Izzet and Vernon, and just seconds later Perkins stabbed a shot agonisingly wide of the post.

Centre-half Chris Coyne was the next to pepper the target. His low cross-cum-shot was hoofed behind for a corner by Grant McCann, and from the ensuing set piece Hammond had an instinctive header cleared from inside the six-yard box.

Gillespie, obviously lacking match-sharpness, had a chance in the 81st minute following good work by fellow substitute Jackson. But his curling shot was comfortably caught by Murphy.

Hooper should have scored the winner for Iron with seven minutes left, but he dragged his shot wide with just Walker to beat.

Gillespie also could have stolen it late on for the U's, only for his shot from Hammond's pass to slip wide of the far post.


COLCHESTER UNITED: Walker 7, Maybury 7, Coyne 7, Baldwin 7, Tierney 8, Izzet 7 (sub Jackson, 65), HAMMOND 8, Perkins 7 (sub Wordsworth, 80), Yeates 8, Platt 7, Vernon 6 (sub Gillespie, 65). Unused subs: White, Gerken.

SCUNTHORPE UNITED: Murphy 7, Wright 6, BYRNE 8, Pearce 7, Williams 7, Thompson 7 (sub Morris, 75), McCann 7, Togwell 6, Woolford 7 (sub Hayes, 88), May 6, Hooper 6. Unused subs: Lillis, Iriekpen, Lea.

Referee: G Horwood (Bedfordshire) 6

Attendance: 4,606

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