U’s over-powered in second half
Huddersfield Town 3 Colchester United 2
COLCHESTER United let a 2-1 lead slip as second-half goals from Jordan Rhodes and Lee Novak wrapped up a home win for Huddersfield Town this afternoon.
For long periods, it looked as though the U’s would end the Terriers’ proud unbeaten run, spanning 24 league matches (during a regular season).
Despite falling behind to ex-Ipswich Town striker Rhodes’ fourth minute opener, the U’s came storming back to take the lead through Kayode Odejayi’s strike on five minutes and then Reading loanee Michail Antonio’s close-range header in the 27th minute.
Deservedly ahead 2-1 at half-time, the U’s could not hold on and a second goal from Rhodes (60) and a slick lob from Novak (63) condemned them to a second successive defeat.
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U’s boss John Ward stuck with the same starting XI from Tuesday night’s 2-0 home defeat to Charlton, although Andy Bond came in for Pat Baldwin on the substitutes’ bench.
Huddersfield made three changes to the side that made it 24 league games unbeaten with a goalless draw at Hartlepool in midweek. Rhodes was one of those to come in, as were midfielders Anton Robinson and Donal McDermott.
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And it was Rhodes who broke the deadlock inside four minutes, firing into the roof of the net for his first goal of the season after full-back Jack Hunt was allowed to skip past two challenges and square into the box.
United were level within 60 seconds. Odejayi latched onto Antony Wordsworth’s through ball and held off his marker to direct a low shot beyond keeper Ian Bennett. It was a clinical finish from the big man, and his third goal of the season.
The breathless start continued. Wordsworth drilled a 25-yarder straight at Bennett on six minutes, while at the other end Mark Cousins pulled off a terrific save to thwart Rhodes. He somehow managed to claw the ex-Ipswich striker’s header over the bar.
United could have gone ahead in the 14th minute. Ian Henderson met Wordsworth’s cross with a header that was cleared off the goal-line, and the follow-up header from Matt Heath drifted wide at the far post.
But the visitors did take the lead, thanks to Antonio’s close-range header from Henderson’s precise cross in the 27th minute.
In fact, Colchester were unlucky not to extend this to a two-goal by half-time.
Odejayi had a headed goal ruled out for offside in the 38th minute, following Wordsworth’s deep cross.
And in first-half stoppage time, Odejayi diverted a cross from Michael Rose inches wide of the far post, from point blank range.
Nine minutes into the second half and Terriers skipper Peter Clarke took advantage of acres of space inside the U’s penalty area to home in on goal. Cousins did well to parry his cross-cum-shot, and Heath completed the clearance.
But two goals in a three-minute spell just after the hour mark turned this game on its head.
Rhodes blasted home his second goal of the game to make it 2-2. His dipping 20-yarder looped over Cousins and into the roof of the net.
And fellow striker Novak then lobbed the onrushing Cousins to nudge Huddesfield into a 3-2 lead in the 63rd minute.
The U’s rarely threatened during the last half-hour, although Henderson curled a long-range shot narrowly over the bar late on.
HUDDERSFIELD: Bennett, Hunt, McCombe, Clarke, Naysmith, McDermott (sub Arfield, 81), Miller, Robinson, Roberts (sub Ward, 46), Rhodes (sub Kay, 89), Novak. Unused subs: Colgan, Lee.
COLCHESTER: Cousins, Wilson, Okuonghae (sub White, 78), Heath, Rose, Izzet (sub Bond, 71), O’Toole, Henderson, Wordsworth, Antonio (sub Coker, 46), Odejayi. Unused subs: Gillespie, James.
Referee: Iain Williamson (Berkshire)