U’s made to rue first half misses

npower League One MK Dons 1 Colchester United 1 COLCHESTER United were made to rue a host of first half misses as MK Dons came from behind to find a second half equaliser.

Colchester dominated the opening period but somehow only had Magnus Okuonghae’s 25th minute low drive to show for their efforts at the break.

The hosts improved in the second half and drew level in the 66th minute when impressive substitute Angelo Balanta curled home from the edge of the box on the counter-attack.

It meant a sixth score draw of the season for Colchester, who remain unbeaten after 10 league games, while MK Dons are still to lose in seven home matches so far.

After two golden chances had gone begging for the U’s early on in this match, centre-back Okuonghae showed his colleagues how it should be done with a fine opener in the 25th minute.

When Anthony Wordsworth’s corner from the right wasn’t properly cleared, the powerful defender chested the ball down expertly before rifling a low shot through a crowd of players from 12 yards out for his second goal in as many weeks.

It was no more than Colchester deserved following an excellent start to the match.

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Wordsworth was guilty of a bad miss in the ninth minute when he somehow pulled the ball wide of the far post from no more than three yards out following Ashley Vincent’s low cut back.

Three minutes later debutant Tom Williams, drafted in on loan from Bristol City late in the week to cover for the injured Marc Tierney at left-back, floated in a superb cross from deep and David Mooney glanced his header just wide.

MK Dons rarely threatened in the first half, with former Liverpool and Germany midfielder Dietmar Hamann’s curling long ranger and low free-kick their only real half chances.

Colchester’s attack continued to look dangerous though and they came agonisingly close to doubling their lead in the 38th minute when a sliding Vincent’s was millimetres away from turning in Wordsworth’s cross-cum-shot at the far post.

In a frantic start to the second period both sides came very close to scoring within five minutes of the restart.

First, Andy Bond had to scramble the ball off his own line after Danny Woodard had got on the end of a corner before, moments later, Vincent saw a dipping long range effort come back off the crossbar.

The hosts, who replaced Hamann at the break, began to provide a major goal threat from set pieces and left-back Dean Lewington went very close with a header from a Peter Leven corner in the 53rd minute.

However, it was just as Colchester looked to have seen out the dangerous spell that they conceded an equaliser when, in a 66th minute counter-attack, half-time sub Angelo Balanta powered forward before curling a low shot from the edge of the box into the bottom right corner.

U’s boss John Ward brought on Kayode Odejayi for Mooney in the 73rd minute and he almost set up a goal with his first touch. The Nigerian striker headed down a cross into the path of Vincent and his low drive was cleared off the line by Doumbe.

Both sides looked to find a winner in the latter stages of the match and it was Colchester who came closest in the 81st minute when Odejayi muscled his way to goal before sliding an angled shot just past the far post.

– Full match report and reaction in Monday’s EADT.

MK Dons (4-4-2): Martin; Woodards, Lewington, Kouo-Doumbe, MacKenzie (Chicksen 21); Guy (Ibehre 56), Chadwick, Hamann (Balanta 46), Leven; Easter, Wilbraham.

Unused Subs: O’Hanlon, Carrington, Searle, G Baldock.

Booked: Doumbe (29), Chicksen (85).

Colchester Utd (4-3-3): Cousins; White, T Williams, Okuonghae, Reid; Izzet, Bond, Perkins; Vincent (I Henderson 85), Wordsworth (L Henderson 88), Mooney (Odejayi 73).

Unused Subs: B Williams, Heath, James, Gillespie.

U’s Man-of-the-Match: Magnus Okuonghae

Attendance: 11,280

Referee: Mick Russell (Herts)

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