Ward: We matched the champions at their own game

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward says his team were determined to put on a good show for the television cameras following this lunchtime’s 1-1 home draw with champions Brighton.

COLCHESTER United manager John Ward says his team were determined to put on a good show for the television cameras following this lunchtime’s 1-1 home draw with champions Brighton.

In the Sky televised match, the U’s outplayed League One’s runaway champions in the first half and deservedly led at the break courtesy of Ian Henderson’s 16th minute goal.

Brighton – who had suffered their first home league defeat in just over a year less than 48 hours previous (2-1 to Southampton) – were much improved in the second half though and levelled through Ashley Barnes’ header in the 72nd minute.

“We’ve provided a lot of good entertainment at home this year and that was another one,” said Ward.


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“They are the champions, the best team in the division and have got some good players, but we’ve tried to give them a good game at what they do very well themselves and that’s pass it around.

“At Brentford on Friday (1-1 draw) both sides had chances to win it and it was the same today, but all in all I’m really pleased with the account my team gave of themselves.”

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He added: “You can point to the fact that they are already champions and there might be a little bit of a carefree attitude about them, but I don’t know because I’m not responsible for their group.

“What I do know is we were up for the game because we like going out live on TV.

“I can’t deny Brighton a share of the spoils and hopefully Gus will say the same about my team.

“For Colchester United to compete with a club that has already sold over 16,000 season tickets for next season is pretty good.”

Reflecting on his side’s opener, a comedy of errors in the Brighton defence gifting Henderson with his ninth goal of the season, Ward said: “They made a mess of it and you’re not going to turn down an opportunity when it comes your way. I think they’ve tried to pass it out rather than clear the ball which would certainly annoy me.

“Ian Henderson is in decent form in the penalty box at the moment (three goals from last four) and I’m really pleased for him.”

– Full report and more reaction in tomorrow’s EADT.

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