U’s win with controversial late penalty

npower League One Colchester Utd 3 Hartlepool Utd 2 COLCHESTER United recorded their third successive come-from-behind win at home in the league with a dramatic stoppage time penalty winner.

The U’s went behind for the fifth successive home league game courtesy of Paul Murray’s fine 28th minute strike.

They turned the game on its head in a three minute second half spell though when Andy Bond and Kayode Odejayi scored in the 57th and 60th minutes respectively.

The Essex side looked to have been denied victory in the 88th minute when left-back Evan Horwood curled a free-kick into the top corner.

However, the U’s won it in stoppage time courtesy of a controversial Ian Henderson penalty.

When Kayode Odejayi looked to burst past Peter Hartley in the dying moments the ball hit the defender on the arm, with the referee blowing for handball.

With the incident close to the edge of the box and the fog descending, it was unclear whether he had given a penalty or free-kick.

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Hartlepool players surrounded the referee as he consulted his linesman and were left incensed when the spot-kick was awarded.

And furious Hartlepool boss Mick Wadsworth, having watched a replay of the incident straight after the final whistle, claimed the handball was ‘one metre’ outside the box.

U’s boss John Ward made two changes to his side following last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Swindon, reinstating both Ian Henderson and Anthony Wordsworth to the starting line-up following impressive displays for the reserves in midweek.

With Mooney having picked up a calf injury in training, Henderson came in as a straight swap up front following his second string hat-trick.

Meanwhile, Wordsworth replaced skipper Kemi Izzet – who Ward said he wanted to rest ahead of Tuesday night’s visit of Brentford – the left-midfielder’s return allowing Andy Bond to return to his favoured central midfield role.

Unsurprisingly, Pool boss Mick Wadsworth stuck with the same starting XI which recorded a morale-boosting 3-1 home victory over table-topping last weekend.

Colchester flew out the traps as Ashley Vincent stung the palms of the keeper within 20 seconds before the hosts enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the early exchanges.

The final ball was severely lacking though, with Henderson and Odejayi not quite on the same wavelength, and the game quickly degenerated into a cagey affair.

Playing an organised 4-1-4-1 formation, Hartlepool began to grow in confidence and, after an increasing spell of pressure, broke the deadlock in the 28th minute with a fine goal.

Following a series of corners on the right-hand side, Wordsworth could only semi-clear a long-throw from that side allowing defensive midfielder Murray to rifle the loose ball into the bottom left hand corner from 25 yards.

It was a sweet strike and the visitors almost doubled their lead with an even sweeter one in the 34th minute when left-back Evan Horwood’s wonderfully struck volley whizzed just past the far post on the angle.

For the second week running the U’s were looking uncharacteristically shaky at the back, although they lifted the home crowd slightly in the 40th minute when Henderson’s angled shot required a good save from keeper Jake Kean.

Wordsworth had an effort deflected wide soon after the restart, but after that Hartlepool got back to comfortably frustrating their hosts.

As an eerie fog began to descend upon the Weston Homes Community Stadium it increasingly began to look like there would be no way through for the U’s until two goals in three minutes arrived from nowhere to turn the game on its head.

The first arrived in the 57th minute when Bond’s effort from outside the box took a deflection on its way into the bottom left corner.

Three minutes later the U’s got their noses in front when Kayode Odejayi gobbled up a rebound after keeper Kean could only palm away Magnus Okuonghae’s dipping long range strike.

Hartlepool brought on striker Armann Bjornsson for holding midfielder Murray in an attempt to get back into the game.

And they almost pulled level in the 69th minute when James Brown’s shot on the turn was cleared off the line by a stretching Brian Wilson.

It looked like the U’s had been denied victory two minutes form time when, after substitute Izzet fouled Leon McSweeney on the edge of the area, Horwood curled a superb free-kick into the top right corner.

The hosts were able to win it in stoppage time though courtesy of that controversial penalty. Henderson keeping his nerve to smash the ball past the despairing dive of the keeper.

- Full match report and reaction in Monday’s EADT

Colchester Utd (4-4-2): B Williams; Wilson, Tierney, Okuonghae, Reid; Vincent (White 90), Wordsworth (Izzet 58), Bond, Perkins (Beevers 79); I Henderson, Odejayi.

Unused Subs: Cousins, Baldwin, James, L Henderson.

Booked: Reid (67), Izzet (86).

Hartlepool Utd (4-1-4-1): Kean; Austin, Horwood, Collins, Hartley; Murray (Bjornsson 64); Yantorno (Humphreys 60), Monkhouse, Sweeney, Liddle; Brown (McSweeney 74).

Unused Subs: Mooney, Gamble, Haslam, Poole.

Booked: Collins (67), Liddle (78).

U’s Man-of-the-Match: Andy Bond

Attendance: 3,640

Referee: Mr Oliver Langford (West Mids)

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