Ward backs Cousins after mistakes

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward is backing keeper Mark Cousins after his two first half mistakes handed Sunderland a 2-0 victory in the Carling Cup second round tonight.

The U’s keeper, who is currently deputising for injured No.1 Ben Williams, wrongly came off his line for the first and let the ball through is grasp for the second as Darren Bent twice netted at The Stadium of Light.

Ward says the 23-year-old will keep the gloves for Friday night’s League One visit of Carlisle to the Weston Homes Community Stadium though.

“Mark made a couple of errors, but show me someone in the team that doesn’t make an error at some stage in game,” said Ward. “Unfortunately if you wear the green jersey then an error normally means the ball ends up in the back of the net.

“The good thing for me though was that it didn’t have an adverse affect on my team, including Mark, and I thought we did very well in the second half.

“The first thing I’ll be telling him is that he will still be in goal against Carlisle on Friday. He’s a young man learning his trade and has a good character about him.”

Colchester more than matched their full-strength Premier League hosts and, were it not for a good performance by home keeper Simon Mignolet, would have had a goal to show for their efforts last night.

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Despite having the likes of England striker Bent, former Dutch winger Bolo Zenden and expensive duo Michael Turner and Lee Cattermole in their starting line-up, Colchester more than matched the top-flight club.

Ward said: “We didn’t manage the upset, but we can take a lot of confidence from the way we played. We showed we can cope against teams at this level and still pass the ball around.

“If you look at their team, every name playing is a name known around the country. Hopefully now a few of our players will have their name known a little bit more in this area of the country after tonight.”

Colchester’s squad will stay up in the north east tonight before travelling back in the morning to prepare for Friday night’s visit of Carlisle. Sunderland, meanwhile, prepare for the visits of Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United in the Premier League.

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