Ward comprehensively beaten at former club

COLCHESTER United’s faint play-off hopes were emphatically put to bed as manager John Ward suffered a comprehensive defeat at former club Carlisle this afternoon.

npower League One

Carlisle United 4-1 Colchester United

COLCHESTER United’s faint play-off hopes were emphatically put to bed as manager John Ward suffered a comprehensive defeat at former club Carlisle this afternoon.

The U’s boss changed his formation and team selection in an attempt to stop a miserable run of away form, but the outcome was the heaviest defeat suffered on their travels in the league this season.

Carlisle were already four goals in front courtesy of James Berrett, Craig Curran (2) and Liam Noble before Steven Gillespie’s second half consolation strike.

The U’s have now lost 11 of their last 14 away league games and continue to be the division’s lowest scorers on their travels.

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Playing a 4-3-3 system – with Ian Henderson and Kayode Odejayi replacing Ashley Vincent and David Mooney in the line-up – the Essex side were the better team in the opening exchanges.

However, the hosts proceeded to score three goals before the break due to a combination of excellent attacking play and some sloppy defending.

Midfielder Berrett curled home the opener from almost 35 yards out in the 19th minute, the ball taking a ricochet off the boot off captain Kemi Izzet, to leave former Cumbrians keeper Ben Williams with no chance.

The lead was then doubled in the 31st minute when striker Curran clipped the ball home following some slick build-up which left Colchester’s defence chasing shadows.

Greg Abbott’s side, playing at home for the first time since their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final triumph at Wembley earlier this month, then began to enjoy themselves and scored again in the 31st minute.

Following yet more excellent passing in midfield, Noble was left with a simple side-foot finish after Curran’s initial shot had been blocked in the area.

The home side added a fourth in the 61st minute when Curran headed home, taking advantage of an excellent cross from Matty Robson and some slack positioning from Nathan Clarke.

The only saving grace for Colchester was the fact that they were able to avoid it being their heaviest league defeat of the season when Gillespie netted a consolation goal in the 71st minute following an excellent pass by substitute Llloyd James.

The Liverpudlian’s ninth goal of the campaign – scored at the second attempt after the keeper initially saved – meant the loss equalled the three-goal margin of defeat at home against Huddersfield earlier in the campaign (3-0).

Curran just missed out on sealing his hat-trick in stoppage-time when he headed over, with the jubilant home fans taunting their former manager with chants of ‘John Ward, what’s the score?’

The U’s manager still shook hands with counterpart and former No.2 Abbott at the end having failed to do so in the reverse fixture.

– Reaction to follow. Full match report in Monday’s EADT.

CARLISLE UTD (4-1-2-1-2): Collin; Simek, Michalik, Murphy, Robson; Thirlwell; Taiwo, Noble; Berrett; Curran, Zoko (Loy 81).

Unused Subs: Livesey, , Madden, Gillespie, Bowman, McKenna, Wells.

Booked: Michalik (44).

COLCHESTER UTD (4-3-3): Williams; Wilson, Clarke, Smith, Coker; Izzet, O’Toole (James 59), Bond;’ Gillespie, Odejayi, Henderson.

Unused Subs: Cousins, Heath, White, Wordsworth, Vincent, Mooney.

Booked: Coker (45+).

Attendance: 4,405

Referee: Mr Peter Quinn.

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