Yet another defeat for struggling Colchester United
Colchester United 1 Peterborough United 3
Colchester United’s poor start to the season continued, as they suffered another defeat at the hands of high-flying Peterborough United this afternoon.
Joe Dunne’s men have now managed just one point from their first five league games.
The U’s survived the blow of conceding a penalty after just three minutes, Sam Walker performing heroics to palm away Conor Washington’s penalty.
But Peterborough soon took charge, scoring twice midway through the first period, with the U’s defence over-stretched on both occasions.
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Washington made amends for his penalty miss by bursting through to beat Walker with a clinical low drive on 21 minutes, and just four minutes later Ngosi Ntlhe had the time and space required to bury a second goal from 10 yards out.
However, the U’s came storming back in the second half, inspired by attacking substitute Sanchez Watt.
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Alex Gilbey was unlucky to hit the bar in the 56th minute, before Watt teed up Freddie Sears to slot home on 64 minutes, and so halve the deficit.
But Jermaine Anderson made sure there would be no successful comeback, the young midfielder stabbing home the third from inside the six-yard box with 13 minutes remaining.
The game had burst into life after only three minutes, when Posh were awarded a penalty, in controversial circumstances.
Sammie Szmodics, on his full senior debut, was adjudged to have handled Kyle Vassell’s free-kick in the defensive wall.
Referee Carl Boyeson pointed to the spot, but Sam Walker came to his side’s rescue by guessing right to make a fine save from Washington’s ensuing penalty.
Walker dived low to his left to push away Washington’s shot, and Magnus Okuonghae was well positioned to finally hack the loose ball to safety.
Otherwise, it was the U’s in the driving seat early on, with away keeper Ben Alnwick a busy man.
Freddie Sears’ tame shot on seven minutes failed to really test Alnwick, but the Posh custodian had more to do when Sears turned provider five minutes later.
Sears’ cross deceived centre-half Ricardo Santos and found its way through to Gavin Massey at the far post, although the U’s winger could not squeeze his shot beyond Alnwick.
Seconds later and Ben Gordon cut inside to fire in a ferocious shot which Alnwick did well to beat away in front of his upright.
However, Posh struck on the break with the opening goal in the 21st minute, Washington beating Walker with a cool finish into the far corner of the net.
And the U’s defence was exposed again as Ntlhe doubled the lead just four minutes later, exploiting acres of space to thread his shot beyond the reach of Walker.
It was a quickfire double blow for the hosts, although Alnwick was called into action again on 28 minutes, to deny the U’s a swift way back into the game.
Livewire Sears let fly from 25 yards out with a goal-bound shot which was superbly tipped over the bar by the Posh keeper.
Posh were within a whisker of adding a third goal in the 42nd minute, but Walker arched back to acrobatically claw Vassell’s goal-bound header over his bar.
Walker was obliged to make another good save early in the second half, blocking Washington’s goal-bound shot at point blank range.
Only the woodwork denied the U’s a goal in the 56th minute. Gilbey tried his luck from 30 yards out with a rasping shot that beat Alnwick, before striking the underside of the bar and dropping to safety.
That was rough luck on the U’s, and substitute Dominic Vose was cursing his own luck when drilling inches over the bar from long-range on the hour mark.
Sears should really have halved the deficit on 63 minutes, but he side-footed wide with an empty goal beckoning from Watt’s pinpoint low cross.
However, just 60 seconds later and Sears made amends by sliding home from close range, following another fine delivery by Watt.
The U’s searched in vain for an equaliser, before they were killed off by Anderson, who stabbed home Posh’s third on 77 minutes.
Ntlhe was sent off in the 80th minute, for two bookable offences, but the U’s could not capitalise on their late numerical advantage.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Clohessy, Okuonghae, Eastman, Gordon, Gilbey, Moncur, Szmodics (sub Vose, 57), Sears, Ibehre (sub Holman, 83), Massey (sub Watt, 57). Unused subs: Lewington, David Wright, Bean, Kent.
PETERBOROUGH: Alnwick, Ferdinand (sub Maddison, 67), Ntlhe, Brisley (sub Zakuani, 33), Burgess, Payne, Anderson, Newell, Santos (sub Smith, 67), Washington, Vassell. Unused subs: Walker, McCann, Conlon, McEvoy.
Referee: Carl Boyeson (East Yorkshire)