Winless U’s are beaten by late bullet header at Brentford
Brentford 1 Colchester United 0
COLCHESTER United were denied a point by a late headed winner from Farid El Alagui at a sun-kissed Brentford this afternoon.
The U’s are therefore still searching for their first win of the season, although today’s defeat was a little harsh on them.
John Ward’s men have failed to win any of their first six league and cup games, and have mustered just three points from a possible 15 in League One.
They had been indebted to a couple of top class saves by Mark Cousins, and were also helped by some woeful finishing from the Bees, especially during the first period.
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But Cousins had no chance as El Alagui powered in to send a bullet header into the net from point blank range, on 87 minutes.
The U’s had enjoyed more of the possession in the second half, but did not have the necessary cutting edge to fashion a goal.
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Both sides had chances galore to break the deadlock in the first period, with Brentford squandering the bulk of them.
Toumani Diagouraga should have opened the scoring on 10 minutes, but the left midfielder sliced his shot wide with just Mark Cousins to beat.
Two minutes later and Clayton Donaldson, who had scored in the 1-1 draw in the corresponding fixture last season, blazed high and wide from another gilt-edged opportunity.
At the other end, Andy Bond nearly stole a 20th minute lead for the U’s when volleying wide at the far post, from Kem Izzet’s deep cross.
But it was the Londoners who continued to threaten the most, and El Alagui climbed above Ben Coker to head inches over the top on 26 minutes.
The U’s got stronger as the first-half wore on. Ian Henderson was denied a one-on-one by keeper Simon Moore, who blocked the attacker’s shot, and Tom Eastman then headed narrowly wide from Anthony Wordsworth’s free-kick on 44 minutes.
Henderson and Eastman were two of the four changes made by manager John Ward, from the Tranmere defeat – Coker and skipper Izzet were the others recalled to the side.
Into the second half and the U’s, playing with Henderson and Sears in a two-pronged attack, began to look more dangerous.
The two combined to good effect, on a quick breakaway, in the 49th minute. Sears ran onto Henderson’s pass, but could not squeeze his shot beyond keeper Moore, who blocked well.
Just before the hour mark, Cousins pulled off a terrific save to thwart Jonathan. Douglas. The ex-Leeds midfielder must have thought he would score, but his goal-bound shot from six yards out was superbly parried by a sprawling Cousins.
Chances then dried up, until Cousins again came to the rescue in the 85th minute. His scuffed clearance fell straight to El Alagui, but the keeper made amends with a smart save.
However, El Alagui had the last laugh by bagging a late winner for the Bees.
BRENTFORD: Moore, Logan, Dean, Craig, Bidwell, Forshaw (sub Adeyemi, 70), Douglas, Saunders (sub Forrester, 52), Diagouraga, Donaldson (sub Hayes, 63), El Alagui. Unused subs: Lee, O’Connor, Barron, Legge.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Cousins, Wilson, Okuonghae, Eastman, Coker, Bond, Izzet, Bean, Wordsworth (sub Morrison, 89), Sears, Henderson. Unused subs: Pentney, Rose, Heath, Massey, White, Sanderson.
Referee: Stuart Attwell