U’s suffer worst start to a season in their history
Scunthorpe United 1 Colchester United 0
COLCHESTER United’s winless run continued, as they slithered to another defeat at fellow strugglers Scunthorpe this afternoon.
A 76th minute penalty from Leon Clarke condemned the U’s to their worst start to a season in the club’s history.
Never before, since they became a professional club in 1937, have the U’s failed to win any of their first eight league games.
Striker Clarke, on loan from Charlton, made it four goals in four games for Iron by first earning the penalty, and then converting it.
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U’s boss Ward made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with visiting Crawley in midweek. Magnus Okuonghae missed out due to an ankle injury, so in came Matt Heath to partner Tom Eastman in the heart of defence.
Karl Duguid was also preferred to Ian Henderson on the flank.
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Former U’s players David Prutton, Karl Hawley and Christian Ribeiro were in the Scunthorpe side, although ex U’s defender Paul Reid was not involved due to a fractured hand.
It was a very even first half, both in terms of possession and also goal attempts.
Mark Cousins made the best save of the first period, after just six minutes, when arching back to fingertip Jimmy Ryan’s swerving goal-bound shot over his bar.
His opposite number, Sam Slocombe, also had only one serious save to make before the break. The Iron keeper dived to his right to push away a low drive by Gavin Massey, struck from just inside the box.
Clinton Morrison also had a sight of goal in the 25th minute. He pounced onto Massey’s cross, only for his close-range effort to be deflected wide off a defender.
Ten minutes into the second half and Morrison was denied by the brilliance of Slocombe. Morrison’s header, from Karl Duguid’s corner, looked a goal all the way, only for Slocombe to make an instinctive block. Matt Heath was unable to bury the rebound.
Just after the half-hour mark and Slocombe was in the action again, clawing a rasping shot from Marcus Bean over the bar.
But Scunthorpe then took control and Cousins twice denied the impressive Duffy with superb close-range saves, inside 60 seconds.
Yet when Clarke was pushed over in the box, on 76 minutes, for what seemed to be a harsh penalty, Cousins had no chance as the Charlton loanee blasted home the winner from the spot.
The U’s tried to find a late equaliser, but they have now scored only five goals in nine league and cup games.
SCUNTHORPE UNITED: Slocombe, Ribeiro, Mirfin, Canavan, Newey, Duffy, Walker, Prutton, Ryan (sub Barcham, 86), Hawley (sub Jennings, 86), Clarke. Unused subs: Severn, Grella, Gibbons, Keegan, Sedwick.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Cousins, Wilson, Heath, Eastman, Rose, Bean, Izzet (sub Henderson, 74), Wordsworth, Massey (sub Sears, 79), Morrison, Duguid (sub Wright, 79). Unused subs: Pentney, Bond, Coker, White.
Referee: Chris Sarginson (Staffordshire)