U's stung by Bees

ONE-TIME Colchester United loanee Charlie MacDonald condemned Aidy Boothroyd to only his second defeat as U's manager last night at Brentford.

Stuart Watson

ONE-TIME Colchester United loanee Charlie MacDonald condemned Aidy Boothroyd to only his second defeat as U's manager last night at Brentford.

The former Southend striker - who scored one goal in four appearances for the U's in 2002 - stooped to head home from close range in the 15th minute for what proved to be the only goal of the game.

With Norwich winning at Southend, it meant the U's have been leapfrogged by their East Anglian rivals and drop back to fourth place in the table.


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The Bees - led on by outstanding Spurs loanee John Bostock on the wing - played by far the better football throughout and fully deserved their fifth league win of the season.

Apart from brief periods of pressure in the middle of both halves, Colchester rarely looked like scoring in this match.

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U's boss Aidy Boothroyd made three changes to the team which laboured to victory at League Two side Hereford in the FA Cup second round on Saturday. David Fox's oxygen chamber treatment saw him overcome a rib injury and return to the starting line-up at the expense of Kemi Izzet, while Clive Platt and Anthony Wordsworth also came back into the side as Steven Gillespie and Simon Hackney returned to the bench.

Brentford started the game the brighter and came close to breaking the dreadlock in the eighth minute when striker Charlie MacDonald - who made four appearances for the U's as a loanee in 2002 - fired narrowly past the left post from just inside the box.

The impressive former Southend frontman was not to be denied seven minutes later though when he stooped to head home Bostock's fine cross from close range.

Colchester fought back following the early setback and, after Kevin Lisbie was denied by a fine saving tackle from left-back Ryan Dickson, on loan Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny produced an instinctive stop with his right foot to stop Kayode Odejayi's low 15-yard shot.

Platt was unfortunate not to get a touch on Kevin Lisbie's fine pull-back for what would have been a certain equaliser on the half-hour mark, however it was Brentford who played by far the better passing game in the opening period.

The Bees had the home crowd on their feet in the 35th minute when a free-flowing move sliced the U's open. The final effort may have been tame, but the warning signs were there for the visitors who deserved to go into the break behind.

Boothroyd, not for the first time this season, sent his players out early at the break, but neither side took the game by the scruff of the neck following the interval.

It took until the 58th minute before either side had an effort on goal, when O'Toole's angled shot was turned round the near post by the keeper. The corner was wasted, but moments later Fox's audacious long-range chip dropped just wide following a poor clearance by the keeper Szczesny.

Odejayi suffered a nose injury challenging for a ball in his own box in the 64th minute and was replaced by Phil Ifil. With Lisbie moving up front, Colchester upped their tempo and they created their best chance of the half when O'Toole scuffed at a chance following Platt's flick on from a long John White throw.

With the classy Bostock in top form, Brentford continued to play the better football even if they weren't creating any chances of note. Following a long touchline consultation with assistant John Ward, U's boss Boothroyd gambled by bringing on striker Steven Gillespie for right-back John White with seven minutes to go.

Gillespie had one long-range effort turned away in stoppage time, but the U's rarely threatened a meaningful comeback in the closing stages.

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