U’s knocked out of the FA Cup by Matt Ritchie’s thunderbolt
Colchester United 0 Swindon Town 1
SECOND best Colchester United were knocked out of the FA Cup by Paolo Di Canio’s impressive Swindon at the Weston Homes Community Stadium this afternoon.
A cracking 59th minute goal from winger Matt Ritchie, the best player on the park, secured a passage into the third round draw for the League Two visitors.
Ritchie intercepted a pass by Ben Coker and burst into the penalty area before beating Ben Williams all ends up with a fantastic finish. His rising shot flew into the top corner of the net.
The U’s had no response, tumbling to their third straight defeat. Swindon keeper Wesley Foderingham never had a shot to save, until the third minute of injury time!
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Foderingham saved Gillespie’s shot on the turn, on his goal-line, but otherwise he had a very quiet afternoon,
Swindon enjoyed the better of the first period and could count themselves unlucky not to be ahead at the interval.
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They were denied by the woodwork on 17 minutes, when centre-half Aden Flint, a former transfer target of the U’s, rattled the underside of the bar with a thumping header from Ritchie’s cross. Matt Heath then cleared the follow-up effort by Oliver Risser.
A minute later and Ritchie, a threat all afternoon, should have broken the deadlock. The classy winger rounded keeper Ben Williams but could only direct his shot into the side-netting, from a tight angle, with an empty goal beckoning.
Both sides made early changes. Ashley Vincent hobbled off injured for the U’s on 20 minutes, to be replaced by Steven Gillespie for his first appearance in six weeks.
And Di Canio made a tactical switch just six minutes later, introducing Ipswich Town loanee Ronan Murray as a substitute for an unhappy Mehdi Kerrouche.
The U’s did not force keeper Foderingham into a save in the first period, although Gillespie and Kayode Odejayi did pepper the target with headers.
And Swindon continued to look the more dangerous at the start of the second half. Flint nodded wide from close in, after Williams had completely missed his punch from Liam Ridehalgh’s cross in the 50th minute.
Williams was then relieved when Murray aimed a shot straight at him, when the Ipswich loanee had a clear sight of goal.
But Williams had no chance when Ritchie drilled home a spectacular goal, just before the hour mark, to put Swindon ahead.
The U’s rarely looked like fashioning an equaliser, although Odejayi did head narrowly wide from Anthony Wordsworth’s 84th minute corner, before Gillespie was denied by Foderingham at the death.
Unfortunately, this was another disappointing display from the under-achieving U’s.
COLCHESTER: Williams, Wilson, Okuonghae (sub Eastman, 76), Heath, Coker, Izzet (sub James, 72), Bond, Wordsworth, Vincent (sub Gillespie, 20), Odejayi, Henderson. Unused subs: Rose, White, Duguid, Cousins.
SWINDON TOWN: Foderingham, Caddis, Ridehalgh, Flint, McCormack, Risser, Smith, De Vita (sub Cibocchi, 83), Ritchie, Magera (sub Connell, 68), Kerrouche (sub Murray, 26). Unused subs: L Thompson, N Thompson, Gabilondo, P Smith,
Referee: Mr Michael Naylor (South Yorkshire)