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17:50 12th February 2011

Report: Colchester United 2 Town 1

Town were desperately unlucky to go down to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Colchester United after Steven Gillespie's late volley sealed the points for the U's.

The visitors made a bright start to the clash, and might have been in front after just two minutes, as a stunning 30-yard volley from Elliot Benyon was brilliantly pushed onto the cross bar by home 'keeper Mark Cousins.

The visitors were well on top, but somehow found themselves behind after five minutes, as a hopeful ball forward looped into the box and cannoned into the arm of the helpless Andy Frampton, and referee Graham Salisbury had little option but to point to the spot.

David Mooney sent David Lucas the wrong way to give the hosts a lead that was harsh on Town, who had enjoyed the best of the opening exchanges.

The U's then proceeded to wrestle control of affairs, and might have extended their lead after 20 minutes as David Mooney powerfully volleyed a Pat Baldwin flick on goalwards, but Lucas did well to block it from point blank range.

David Mooney gives Colchester United the lead from the penalty spot

It was then Town's turn to go close as Jon-Paul McGovern's cross was inadvertently headed goalwards by Baldwin, and though Cousins fumbled it dangerously with Benyon poised to equalise, the 'keeper recovered in time to dive on the loose ball.

The visitors then regained their stranglehold on the affair, looking confident in possession and spending a considerable time in their opponent's half.

The home crowd were restless as their side struggled to string any meaningful series of passes together, but their side held firm to go into the break a goal to the good with Town failing to find a cutting edge.

The visitors continued where they had left off at the beginning of the second half, and went close to levelling the score as Jonathan Obika turned well on the edge of the box and let fly with an excellent half volley, which Cousins was down well to save.

Danny Wilson with Colchester United manager John Ward

However, the 'keeper was at fault as Town found themselves back on level terms on 51 minutes, as head fumbled an Elliot Benyon shot, before engaging in an horrendous mix-up with Pat Baldwin, which resulted in the concession of an unnecessary corner.

Matt Ritchie whipped in the kick, and after Cousins had ballooned Andy Frampton's initial volley into the air, Scott Cuthbert rose to head it home.

It was no less than Town had deserved, but they were almost behind again immediately after, as Matt Heath rose to nod a Kem Izzet corner goalwards, but Lucas flew across his goalmouth to gather it well.

There was no doubting the game had come alive, and centre-back Cuthbert had a great chance to put Town in front after 54 minutes, but where he had buried his first opportunity, he headed well wide from a similar position.

Town were still well in control of affairs, and went close again through the impressive Cuthbert, who powered another header towards the top corner, but Cousins pushed it round the post acrobatically.

Matt Ritchie

There was seemingly only one side in it as Town stroked the ball around confidently and foraged into the hosts' latter third at will, but the pivotal chance remained elusive.

As Town began to tire, it was the hosts who had the best chances to win it late on but they were both squandered, as first Pat Baldwin put a free header well over the bar, before Anthony Wordsworth scuffed a first time shot straight at David Lucas.

But then came the sucker punch for Danny Wilson's side, as Lucas punched a Wordsworth corner to the edge of the box, where U's substitute Steve Gillespie was waiting to smash a mis-hit volley into the corner via the head of Jonathan Douglas.

It was cruel on a Town side who had dominated the majority of the half, and despite Thomas Dossevi's late effort which passed just wide of the post, the visitors went down to a hugely disappointing defeat.

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    Data provided by Press Association