U’s inflict first home defeat on Bournemouth
npower League One AFC Bournemouth 1 Colchester Utd 2 COLCHESTER United inflicted a first home defeat of the season on Bournemouth with a classic away performance.
Tom Williams’ breathtaking 30 yard free-kick had given the U’s a half-time lead at the in-form Cherries.
Bournemouth – who came into this game having won five of their six league games at Dean Court – were then frustrated by some resolute Colchester defending in the second half before substitute Ian Henderson finished off a counter-attacking move in the 80th minute.
The goal proved crucial as, two minutes from time, Steve Fletcher headed home from a corner to halve the deficit before Colchester held on throughout a nervy five minutes additional time.
This third away victory of the season means the U’s remain undefeated on their travels in seven matches and are up to third in the League One table.
U’s boss John Ward made the bold decision to abandon the 4-3-3 formation he has played all season and start with a similar system to that ended the match so well against Notts County last weekend.
Two-goal hero Kayode Odejayi once again led the line with David Mooney afforded the freedom of a deeper role behind him, however this time Ashley Vincent started on the left of midfield with Andy Bond on the right in a far more traditional four man midfield.
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Meanwhile, following their 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday, Bournemouth made just one enforced change as Shaun Cooper replaced the injured Ryan Garry at centre-back.
The Cherries started like a side that had won five of their opening six home league fixtures at an average of three goals a game, with a flurry of early attacks.
The best of those chances came in the third minute when Tom Williams got caught in possession in the left-back position only for Theo Robinson to hit the side-netting after cutting inside.
Colchester settled after that early scare and, after Kemi Izzet put the ball just wide following a promising attack, the visitors broke the deadlock.
And, having almost been the villain so early on, it was Tom Williams – whose loan spell from Bristol City expires following Tuesday night’s home game against Leyton Orient – who quickly turned hero with a peach of a goal.
When the referee awarded the U’s a 30-yard free-kick out on the right in the 16th minute there looked little danger on, but Williams proceeded to drive the dead ball with pace and accuracy into the opposite corner of the goal.
The goal took the wind out of Bournemouth’s sails and they had to wait until the 37th minute before registering another strike on goal as Colchester ended the half good value for their one goal lead.
Bournemouth came out fired up following a half-time team talk from their 32-year-old manager Eddie Howe, but for all their possession they were restricted largely to long range efforts as the U’s got men behind the ball and continually closed down space to good effect.
The homes side brought on strikers Steve Fletcher and Lee Bradbury as they chased the game. And Colchester could count themselves lucky not to be reduced to 10 men as the pressure mounted when Kemi Izzet – already on a booking – got away with a blatant trip.
The U’s resorted to a 4-5-1 formation as they looked to protect their narrow lead with Marc Tierney coming on at left-back and Tom Williams going left midfield.
However, as Bournemouth bombarded the box with a string of excellent deliveries, Colchester’s defence continued to stand strong with Matt Heath making one very important block.
And having put in a resilient backs-to-the-wall job for the majority of the second half, the U’s rounded off the perfect away performance 10 minutes from time when Ian Henderson finished off on the counter-attack.
The 62nd minute substitute received the ball in space down the right, beat full-back Rhoys Wiggins all ends up and composed himself before smashing the ball into the roof of the net.
The goal proved crucial as, two minutes from time, sub striker Steve Fletcher headed in from a corner to set up a frenetic finish.
The U’s held on through five minutes of added on time though to become the first team to win at Dean Court in the league this season.
– Full match report and reaction in Monday’s EADT.
BOURNEMOUTH (4-5-1): Jalal; Smith, Wiggins, Pearce, Cooper (Bradbury 69); Feeney (Arter 78), Pugh, Bartley (Fletcher 53), Robinson, Hollands; McQuoid.
Unused Subs: Stewart, Cummings, Taylor, Purches.
COLCHESTER (4-4-1-1): B Williams; Wilson, T Williams, Reid, Heath; Bond, Vincent (Tierney 73), Izzet (Beevers 80), Perkins; Vincent, Mooney (I Henderson 62); Odejayi.
Unused Subs: Cousins, White, L Henderson.
Booked: Wilson (29), Izzet (46), Reid (56).
U’s Man-of-the-Match: Tom Williams
Referee: Mr Simon Hooper