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16:54 3th December 2011

Report: Colchester 0 Town 1

A superb strike from Matt Ritchie on the hour was enough to seal Town's place in the FA Cup third round draw as the Robins extended their unbeaten run to 12 games. Paolo Di Canio made three changes to the Town side with Jake Jervis (unavailable), Simon Ferry (illness) and Lander Gabilondo missing out on a place in the starting eleven. Mehdi Kerrouche returned to the frontline, partnering Lukas Magera.

It was a fairly even first ten minutes of the game with both sides taking their time to get settled into the affair. There was an early half-chance for Magera but his downward header was easily gathered by Ben Williams in the U's goal. The home side had a great chance to open the scoring with 13 minutes on the clock. Following Town's first corner of the game, a punch clear from Williams saw Colchester break quickly with a ball through from former Cheltenham frontman Kayode Odejayi met inside the box by Ashley Vincent. However his effort blazed over with Wes Foderingham not required to make the save.

Town then went up the other end with Aden Flint rising highest to head a free-kick against the Colchester crossbar. It was a great effort from the defender with the follow-up cleared. Another Town chance followed on 18 minutes with a perfectly weighted ball from Oliver Risser finding Matt Ritchie but having rounded Williams, he struck the ball against the side-netting.

The home side were forced into an early change on the 20-minute mark with Vincent forced off injured with Steven Gillespie - returning from a long spell on the sidelines - to take his place back amongst the action.Di Canio then made an early tactical substitution with Kerrouche replaced by Ipswich Town loanee Ronan Murray with 26 minutes played. There were then half chances for Wordsworth and Ritchie at either end with the game edging towards the half-time whistle with both teams foraging for the breakthrough. Before the break Ritchie saw two long range efforts fly off target much to the disappointment of Di Canio, still patrolling his technical area with typical purpose.

The first cautions of the game went to substitute Gillespie and Alan McCormack following a slight altercation between the pair before the half-time whistle blew.

There were no changes to either side at the break with early chances falling for the visitors. First a free-kick from Caddis flew narrowly over on 47 minutes before Flint went close following a corner minutes later. Another fine opportunity came Town's way on 55 minutes. A superb ball through from Magera found Ritchie, who got the better of Williams before squaring the ball unselfishly to Murray who could only find the arms of the 'keeper from close range. The opener came on the hour with a superb finish from Ritchie putting the Robins into a deserved lead. A firm challenge from Smith in the middle of the park saw the ball run free to Ritchie. Having made good ground towards the box, he unleashed a fierce left footed shot from 25 yards which cannoned into the top corner of the net.

It was a magnificent strike from the midfielder and the goal spurred the Robins on with further efforts from Magera and Flint going close. 

The second Town change came with 67 minutes played with Magera replaced by Alan Connell after the Czech striker had taken a heavy knock. Town continued to create opportunities with a driven cross from De Vita evading the Town attack before a similar effort from Caddis on 79 minutes flew across the face of goal. Foderingham produced an excellent low save inside the four minutes of injury time to deny Gillespie, before the full-time whistle blew to seal a round three place and a welcome cheque for £27,000.

    Data provided by Press Association