Ward hails rearguard action

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward hailed his side’s rearguard action following their goalless draw at Southampton.

The U’s were disrupted by injuries to defenders Marc Tierney and Pat Baldwin during this encounter, but still stood up superbly to a Saints side that pushed hard for a win on Nigel Adkins’ home debut as manager.

Both sides could have won it in a dramatic finish to the game as Kayode Odejayi and Ashley Vincent failed to finish off a counter-attack, before keeper Mark Cousins made two fine saves from Rickie Lambert free-kicks in stoppage time.

“It’s a terrific point,” said Ward, whose side are now unbeaten in their opening seven League One matches with two wins and five draws.

“Everyone has been talking about Nigel (Adkins) and the influence he was going to have and they were quite right to think that because this is a really big club and a really big team.

“When we had to defend we did so strongly, I just thought we could have used the ball better than we did.

“We might have even nicked it ourselves at the end and, while we may not have deserved that today, it probably would have been deserved on the basis of our last three or four games.

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“They have got really strong players though and when they get their heads up it can be difficult to stop them so I am delighted we were able to do that.

“For us to stand our ground here is a fantastic result. If you’d have offered me this at half past two I’d have taken it.”

Tierney and Baldwin came off with direct blows to their hip and ankle respectively in this match, but neither injury is thought to be serious at this stage.

“They are both direct blows and so will hopefully not be as bad a pulls,” said Ward.

“With a bit of love and attention they should be back in contention for next week.”

He added: “Credit to our squad, which is not the biggest at the moment, for dealing with those injuries.

“Lloyd James had to come on against his former club in a position he hasn’t played in for us, while John White was moved about all over the pitch once again.”

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