Ward praises U’s attitude after late winner

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward praised his side’s ability to find a stoppage time winner against Swindon today following a below par performance against the struggling visitors.

The U’s edged a poor first half courtesy of David Mooney’s seventh minute penalty, but Swindon deservedly equalised in the second half through Scott Cuthbert’s header.

Home keeper Mark Cousins had to pull off a couple of good saves to prevent an out-of-sorts Colchester falling behind, before substitute Steven Gillespie came up trumps with a cooly taken winner at the death,

“We haven’t played particularly well but we’ve won the game,” said Ward.

“We played well at Charlton and got beat 1-0 and felt a little bit aggrieved, we played pretty well at Huddersfield and didn’t win the game there, so if a little bit of fortune has gone our way today then we’ll take it.

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“We know we can play better than that but I’ve always said the one thing you can’t accuse my team of is not trying and we’ve certainly tried very hard today.

“Because we’ve tried and because our attitude has been very good that’s given us the chance to win the game.”

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He continued: “I said on Thursday that Swindon are a good side, they’re not a bottom four side and everyone’s seen that now for themselves. It’s a good job I went to see them on Tuesday night to know that.

“We’ve played well and lost games and not played well today and won a game. That’s the human factor of playing football.

“We stayed with the game and then it was a question of keeping our nerve. The game got stretched as we thought it might and we used the players well.”

Gillespie’s name was chanted prior to his introduction off the bench. And the fans’ favourite further strengthened his case for a new contract in the summer by scoring for a third successive home game.

“Steven can do that,” said Ward. “Whether he can do that all the time or a lot of times is for me to manage and for me to decide though.

“He’ll tell you himself he should have done a bit better with his crosses because he’s put four into the goalkeeper’s arms.

“It was a super finish and he’s a good footballer. I’ll continue to manage him and try to get the best out of him and at the moment that’s working well.”

And reflecting on another good performance from Mark Cousins, the keeper retaining his place in the team despite Ben Williams returning to fitness, Ward said: “He has made some saves, yet the goal against us was scrappy and sloppy and a comedy of errors really.

“We’ll keep working with Mark. He’s a good young goalkeeper that’s doing well.”

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