Woeful Colchester United crash to yet another heavy defeat

Colchester United 1 Rochdale 4

Colchester United’s defensive frailties were exposed yet again, as Rochdale raced to a comfortable 4-1 away win at the Weston Homes Community Stadium this afternoon.

On the back of a 6-0 defeat at MK Dons, in their previous league game, this was another dreadfully disappointing display from Tony Humes’ men.

The U’s were torn to shreds, almost at will, by a Rochdale team who had actually been struggling in the league in recent weeks.

United therefore remain stuck in the relegation zone and, on this latest performance, they look like staying there!

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There was actually little too suggest that this would be another heavy defeat for the U’s, until Matthew Lund broke the deadlock in the 27th minute.

Sam Walker managed to keep out Michael Rose’s ferocious free-kick, but he was powerless to prevent midfielder Lund from tucking home the loose ball from point blank range.

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It was 2-0, just two minutes later, with a very similar goal. This time Walker could only parry Matty Done’s low drive straight into the path of Peter Vincenti, who swept home into an unguarded net.

There was more misery for the U’s in the 41st minute. Kaspars Gorkss tripped the rampaging Stephen Dawson inside the box, and Ian Henderson’s ensuing penalty rolled over the line, despite Walker’s best efforts to keep out the shot.

Gavin Massey, on as a substitute at the start of the second period, did give the U’s some brief hope by ramming home a fine 20-yarder, in the 50th minute.

But Rochdale restored their three-goal lead just five minutes later, thanks to centre-half Jack O’Connell’s free header from a corner.

That completed the scoring.

Ironically, it had been a bright start from the U’s, and after a couple of early corners, George Moncur crashed in a 20-yarder straight at keeper Conrad Logan, who caught with ease

Rochdale threatened first in the eighth minute. U’s old boy Rose, operating as a left wing-back, delivered a free-kick across the face of goal which keeper Walker was at full stretch to palm away. The ball had glanced off the head of home defender Gorkss.

On 17 minutes, Freddie Sears whipped over a low cross into the danger zone, looking for fellow attacker Rhys Healey. But the Cardiff City loanee could not divert home, on the edge of the six-yard box, due to the intervention of defender Ashley Eastham.

At the other end, Henderson, the other former U’s favourite in the Rochdale team, tried his luck with a long-range shot which curled comfortably into the grateful hands of Walker.

Henderson drew Elliott Hewitt into a foul, just outside the penalty area, in the 24th minute. Set piece specialist Rose took the free-kick, but could only rifle his shot into the defensive wall.

However, Rose had a key part to play in Lund breaking the deadlock for Dale on 27 minutes, when Walker could not deal conclusively with the ex-U’s left-back’s free-kick.

The visitors had doubled their lead, just two minutes later, thanks to Vincenti sweeping home the rebound after Walker had spilled Done’s well-struck shot.

By now, it was all Rochdale.

Henderson cruised past Hewitt and cut into the penalty area on 35 minutes, before firing in a shot that Walker was at pains to block before scooping up the loose ball down at his near post.

The excellent Henderson was then denied by the woodwork in the 39th minute. His powerful header, from Rose’s cross, cannoned back off the underside of the bar with the ball so nearly dropping over the line.

However, Henderson did score Dale’s third goal just two minutes later, with Walker just unable to keeper out his penalty.

The shell-shocked U’s nearly reduced the deficit in first-half stoppage time. Healey turned his marker, only for his low shot to clip the outside of the near post.

Manager Humes made a double change for the start of the second half, introducing Massey and Sean Clohessy for Healey and Hewitt.

And Massey took just five minutes to get on the score-sheet, drilling home from just outside the box to reduce Rochdale’s lead to 3-1.

But the U’s comeback was short-lived, as O’Connell restored Dale’s three-goal advantage with a free header from a 55th minute corner.

Dale keeper Logan was forced into a rare save on 72 minutes. The Leicester City loanee could only get his fingertips to Cole Kpewaka’s deep cross, but he recovered well to block the follow-up shot by Sears.

Logan also saved late on from Sears, following Massey’s break in the 87th minute, as Dale cruised to victory.


COLCHESTER: Walker, Hewitt (sub Clohessy, 46), Eastman, Gorkss, Kpewaka, Fox, Eastmond, Moncur, Healey (sub Massey, 46), Sears, Watt (sub Bonne, 52). Unused subs: Lewington, Szmodics, O’Donoghue, Sembie-Ferris.

ROCHDALE; Logan, Rafferty, Eastham, Lancashire, O’Connell, Rose, Lund (sub Hery, 83), Dawson, Done, Vincenti (sub Andrew, 75), Henderson. Unused subs: Lillis, Noble-Lazarus, Cywka, Cannon, Camps.

Referee: Craig Breakspear (Surrey)

Attendance: 2, 920 (183 away fans)

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