U’s unbeaten run grinds to a halt at Walsall
Walsall 3 Colchester United 1
COLCHESTER United’s fine unbeaten run ground to a halt at lowly Walsall tonight, as their distant play-off hopes took a big hit.
Anthony Wordsworth, the skipper for the night, fired the U’s into an 11th minute lead, but they could not build on that early advantage and ended a well-beaten side.
Goals from Emmanuel Ledesma, Mat Sadler and George Bowerman earned the Saddlers three precious points, while inflicting a first defeat in 10 games on the under-performing U’s.
Wordsworth’s early goal was another high-class effort from the in-form midfielder.
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The Saddlers defence was over-stretched by Kayode Odejayi’s strong run, although there still seemed little danger when Wordsworth received Andy Bond’s pass.
However, David Grof was left clutching at thin air as Wordsworth’s cracking 20-yarder soared into the top corner of the net, curling away from the home keeper.
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But Walsall equalised with a stunning strike of their own in the 38th minute.
Ledesma, the best player on the park, lifted a free-kick over the defensive wall and beyond a despairing Ben Williams. It was a wonderful strike from the Argentine striker, who is on loan from Italian club Genoa.
And the Saddlers were ahead before half-time. Williams failed to intercept a cross by Alex Nicholls, and the U’s defence hesitated, which enabled defender Sadler to steam in at the far post and drill home from eight yards out.
Substitute Bowerman made the game safe for the Midlanders with the third, a close-range header, in the 74th minute.
WALSALL: Grof, Beevers, Smith, Butler, Sadler, Nicholls, Cuvelier, Mantom, Hurst, Ledesma (sub Paterson, 87), Macken (sub Bowerman, 41). Unused subs: Lancashire, Peterlin, Walker.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Williams, Wilson, Okuonghae, Eastman (sub Heath, 78), White, Massey (sub Vincent, 46) Bond (sub Sears, 69), Wordsworth, Henderson, Odejayi, Gillespie. Unused subs: Rose, Heath, Duguid.
Referee: Rob Lewis (Shropshire) 7