Ward praises U’s players and fans after thrilling draw

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward praised the club’s players and supporters following this afternoon’s thrilling 3-3 home draw against Charlton.

The U’s played some excellent football in the first half and twice took the lead through Matt Heath and Andy Bond.

On both occassions though Charlton’s Johnnie Jackson equalised from the penalty spot after handballs from Bond and David Perkins in the box.

The latter was sent-off for the aforementioned having blocked a goalbound effort on the line with his hand five minutes before the break, but the 10-man U’s showed tremendous character to restrict the high-flying visitors in the second half before getting their noses in front again through Anthony Wordsworth’s preditory finish.

Charlton came roaring back though and after drawing level through Paul Benson’s overhead kick, the same player controversially had a headed finish disallowed for a foul before he was dismissed two minutes from time for a late lunge on John White.

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“I don’t think many people will be asking for their money back, it was an absolutely fantastic game,” said Ward.

“Credit to both groups of players, they made for a terrific game, aided by some decisions by the officials.

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“We went down to 10 men so early in the game and had to deal with decisions and I thought my players did that exceptionally well.”

The Colchester players got in a group huddle at the end of the game and undertook a mini lap of honour to receive the applause of the supporters, with Ward quick to praise the home crowd for their part in the performance.

He said: “For us to respond in the manner that we did really set this place going, it’s the best I’ve seen it and I think the supporters really respected the efforts of the team.

“Today they’ve supported with noise and really got involved in the game and that’s something we can keep doing together.

“Sometimes it’s a quieter place here and I can understand that because sometimes the team is quieter.

“If the supporters and players can work together like they have done today though then there is no end to what we can achieve.”

– Colchester United travel to Leyton Orient on Monday for their second League One game in three days. For a match preview of that game, plus more reaction from today’s match, see Monday’s EADT.

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