U's win in a tale of two penalties

IT was a tale of two penalties as Colchester United chalked up back-to-back festive victories, at the expense of Leyton Orient, to burst into the top half of the table for the first time this season.

Carl Marston

IT was a tale of two penalties as Colchester United chalked up back-to-back festive victories, at the expense of Leyton Orient, to burst into the top half of the table for the first time this season.

Steven Gillespie celebrated his first start for nine weeks by bagging what proved to be the winning goal, from the penalty spot.

And keeper Jimmy Walker was a hero at the other end yesterday as he saved Adam Boyd's penalty to propel the U's into 11th spot. Paul Lambert's men have now lost just one of their last seven league games.


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The winner arrived in the 38th minute. O's centre-half Tamika Mkandawire was adjudged to have handled Dean Hammond's cross, inside the box, and Gillespie made no mistake from the spot.

The U's club record signing sent keeper Glenn Morris the wrong way, so scoring his fourth goal of the season, but his first since his brace in the opening day defeat at Hartlepool.

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The visitors dominated for large chunks of the second period, and they could have been level when they were gifted a controversial penalty in the 55th minute.

Referee Graham Scott, who flashed 11 yellow cards and one red, did not initially award the penalty for an apparent handball by Dean Hammond. He was standing close to the incident, and yet it was his assistant who spotted the handball and effectively made the decision.

However, justice was done when Walker beat away Boyd's well-struck spot kick. It was a fine save from the West Ham loanee.

Orient's misery was complete with eight minutes remaining. Midfielder Sean Thornton was sent off for a second bookable offence, the second for clashing off-the-ball with Alan Maybury.

The most amazing statistic was the number of cards (12) dished out by Mr Scott. It was not that sort of game. But Colchester will have no complaints.

Squads

COLCHESTER UNITED: Walker 8, Maybury 8, Baldwin 7, Reid 7, Tierney 7, PERKINS 8, Hammond 7, Izzet 7 (sub Jackson, 69), Yeates 7 (sub White, 75), Gillespie 8 (sub Platt, 69), Vernon 7. Unused subs: Wordsworth, Gerken.

LEYTON ORIENT: Morris 7, Cave-Brown 6, SAAH 7, Mkandawire 6, Purches 7, Jarvis 6 (sub Melligan, 72), Chambers 6, Thornton 5, Demetriou 6, Boyd 6 (sub Morgan, 65), Parkin 6 (sub Dawkins, 65). Unused subs: Jones, Spence.

Referee: Mr G Scott (Oxfordshire) 5

Attendance: 6,290

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