Under-par U’s slip to rare defeat
npower League One Swindon Town 2 Colchester Utd 1 COLCHESTER United’s winning streak came to a disappointing end at Swindon with a lacklustre defeat.
Swindon, who started the day just a point above the drop zone, had already hit the post before Thomas Dossevi broke the deadlock in the 29th minute.
The U’s were second best in the first half but somehow found an equaliser in time added on when Ashley Vincent headed home from close range.
Swindon continued to dominate after the break and, after ex U’s man David Prutton had headed against a post, they retook the lead minutes later when the prolific Charlie Austin netted his 10th goal of the season.
The under par U’s never really looked like getting back in the game after that, although home keeper Phil Smith did fumble a routine cross onto his own bar and there were half chances for Kayode Odejayi and substitute Liam Henderson at the death.
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The defeat comes off the back of four successive wins for the U’s, however it is only their first away loss and second of the season in 16 league games.
The Essex side now drop down to sixth in the table, but remain just two points off of second thanks to results elsewhere going their way.
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U’s boss John Ward made two changes to his side following their 4-3 FA Cup victory over Bradford City – both coming in the back four. Fit again Magnus Okuonghae replaced Matt Heath at centre-back, while Marc Tierney came in for the injured Tom Williams (groin) at left-back.
Colchester started on the front foot but were lucky not to fall behind in the fifth minute following a combination of errors by the U’s. Kemi Izzet got far too much on his backwards header in the middle of the pitch, with a ring-rusty Okuonghae misjudging the flight of the ball to leave Michael Timlin in the clear.
Fortunately for the U’s though the midfielder’s run lacked conviction and allowed alert keeper Ben Williams to race off his line and block a weak effort at his feet.
Swindon began to take charge after that chance, but were fortunate not to go behind themselves in the 14th minute when Kayode Odejayi was guilty of sending a header over the bar from an unmarked position six yards out following a superb Tierney cross.
You could see why both teams have been scoring and conceding goals aplenty in recent weeks as the chances continued to come.
The next big opportunity went Swindon’s way as left-back Michael Rose – a regular fixture in the Norwich team last season – cracked the inside of the post with a low 25-yard free-kick, sending the ball spinning dangerously across the face of goal in the 18th minute.
The hosts were not to be denied though and broke the deadlock in the 29th minute with a route one goal the U’s should have dealt far better with.
With numerous Colchester players committed forward in attack, home keeper Phil Smith launched a long drop kick up field, Charlie Austin shrugged off the attentions of the isolated Tierney before slipping in on-running strike partner Thomas Dossevi to cooly finish.
Swindon proceeded to ask all the questions after the goal and came close to extending their lead around the 40th minute mark as Okuonghae was fortunate to get away with a clumsy challenge in the box before Matt Ritchie and Jonathan Douglas both weren’t far away with long range efforts.
U’s boss Ward switched Mooney and Bond in a desperate attempt to get a foothold back in the game and at that stage it looked like half-time couldn’t come sooner enough for the visitors.
But as the game entered first half stoppage time, Mooney did superbly to dig out a great cross from the right corner flag for Vincent to head home from close range.
The half-time whistle blew within seconds of the restart, with the home crowd incensed that Mooney had received the ball in an offside position.
With a perceived sense of injustice behind them, Swindon started the second half fired up and almost retook the lead in the 52nd minute. Izzet and Perkins left the ball to each other in midfield, the hosts raced away and after a fine one-two Prutton headed firmly against the near post.
Three minutes later they did score when impressive skipper Jonathan Douglas, making his first start since breaking his toe, slipped in Austin following a slick passing move and the in-form hitman duly tucked away his 10th goal of the season.
With Colchester having created very little in the match, manager Ward introduced Anthony Wordsworth for Izzet just after the hour.
Bond went into the middle following the changes and within minutes he’d hit a snap shot from long-range – a host of U’s players claiming it had hit the arm of a Swindon player in the box.
Colchester almost equalised in the 69th minute with what would have gone down as one of the most bizarre goals ever. An attempted clearance from the left-back area hit Vincent and then stayed in after striking the corner flag. The U’s winger then sent in a routine cross which the keeper inexplicably fumbled onto his own crossbar.
Ward introduced Ian Henderson for Perkins with 20 minutes to go, but it was Swindon who continued to pass the ball much better and look the more potent force.
There was a late rally from the U’s, with Odejayi pulling an effort wide and substitute Liam Henderson lobbing a chance just past the post, however in truth the Essex side wouldn’t have deserved a share of the spoils.
– Reaction to follow.
Swindon (4-4-2): Smith; Cuthbert, Rose, Morrison, Jean-Francois; Prutton, Ritchie (McGovern 83), Timlin, Douglas (cpt); Austin, Dossevi (Ball 78).
Unused Subs: Scott, Caddis, Sheehan, Bodin, Evans.
Booked: Ritchie (80).
Colchester (4-4-1-1): B Williams; Wilson, Tierney, Okuonghae, Reid; Vincent (L Henderson 84), Bond; Izzet (Wordsworth 61), Perkins (I Henderson 70); Mooney, Odejayi.
Unused Subs: Cousins, Baldwin, Beevers, James.
Booked: I Henderson (85).
U’s Man-of-the-Match: Andy Bond
Attendance: 7,679 Referee: Mr Robert Lewis