Williams penalty save maintains clean sheet run

Ian Henderson’s first half header, combined with Ben Williams’ second half penalty save, saw Colchester United beat Cambridge United last night.

Cambridge United 0 Colchester United 1

A SECOND half penalty save from Ben Williams saw Colchester United record their sixth successive clean sheet in pre-season last night.

Following a dominant first half, the U’s eventually took the lead in the 41st minute when the impressive Ian Henderson headed home Marc Tierney’s cross.

The visitors continued to look the better side after the break but handed their Blue Sqaure Premier hosts a lifeline in the 69th minute when Paul Reid pulled down his man in the box to concede a penalty.

Williams, who has been subject of much transfer speculation this summer and who was playing in only his second game back after a knee injury, came to his side’s rescue though by diving full length to push Adam Marriott’s spot kick around the post.

Encouragingly, Colchester – once again playing a 4-3-3 formation - created far more chances throughout this match than in their previous two goal-less draws against non-leaguers Braintree Town and Lowestoft.

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In the opening period, Anthony Wordsworth curled a free-kick narrowly wide and David Perkins volleyed just over in a much-improved display.

At the other end, John Ward’s side continued to look as solid as they have done throughout a pre-season in which they are yet to concede a goal.

Substitute Kayode Odejayi almost set up new boy Andy Bond for a second in the closing stages, but all-in-all this was a good work-out ahead of the season opener at Exeter on August 7.

A Colchester United XI now travel to Chelmsford tonight, while pre-season is concluded with a trip to League Two side Aldershot on Saturday.

Meanwhile, young Colchester United duo Tom Bender and Michael Rafter have both received international call-ups.

Following his recent impressive appearances for the Welsh Under-17s, left-back Bender has now been put on stand by for the U21s ahead of their up-and-coming game against Malta in August.

And midfielder Rafter, who signed a professional deal with the U’s over the summer, has been named in the Republic of Ireland U19 squad for their double header against the Ukraine next month.

Colchester: Williams, Wilson, Baldwin, Reid, Tierney, Bond, Izzet, Perkins, Henderson, Wordsworth, Platt (Odejayi).

Unused Subs: Cousins, White, Bender, Beevers, James, Vincent, Elito.

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