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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Reds Rue Missed Chances

At the start of the season, on paper, Colchester United v Crawley Town looked a difficult game to predict. However, with Reds riding high and the U's languishing at the bottom of League 1, surely a Crawley victory was on the cards?

The CTSA coach was full, which meant we had to drive up to deepest, darkest Essex. 4pm was the meeting time as me and 3 others departed.

It took longer than expected and we finally reached point at around 18.45. A £6 parking fee was slightly on the ludicrous side before a brief stroll to the impressive Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Over 200 Reds fans made the trip - a good turnout for a mid-week game considering kids going back to school and all that, and were in fine voice.

After just 1 minute, Crawley had their first chance as an in-swinging Nicky Adams free kick found Kyle McFadzean, but his header was tamely pushed onto the Mark Cousins' gloves.

Colchester had their opportunity on 6 minutes when Anthony Wordsworth's corner was headed over by Marcus Bean.
HIGHLY RATED: Anthony Wordsworth
After only 7 minutes, midfielder Shaun Cooper was taken off with a groin injury. The former Bournemouth man replaced by the returning Josh Simpson.

McFadzean's surge up-field saw him beat a couple of U's players before sliding a low cross to the back post, however, Gary Alexander couldn't get enough power, sliding in.

Mat Salder was next to try his luck but saw his left footed drive whistle just wide of Cousins' right hand post, just after the half an hour mark.

That was that for the opening 45 minutes as the half petered out with little else, with the referee adding an extra minute of time.

Reds played much better in the second half and seemed to up the gears.

Mike Jones cut in from the right, played a neat one-two with Alexander before unleashing a strike that went inches wide of the right-hand post.

On the hour, a Nicky Ajose cross found Alexander, but his effort was blocked off of ex-Red Magnus Okuonghae and out for a corner.
OLD BOY: Magnus started for the U's
With 63 minutes played, Colchester had their first clear cut effort as Brian Wilson curling free kick from 20 yards out was heading for the bottom left-hand corner, only to be pushed away by Crawley 'keeper Paul Jones.

2 minutes later and the visitors hit the post; Jones again found space before seeing his effort skim off the right-hand post.

U's manager John Ward brought on Freddie Sears in place of Ian Henderson as his side looked to snatch a winner.

However, it was Crawley that increased the pressure as Cousins' goal was leading a charmed life. The dangerous Adams, who tormented U's right back Wilson, all night turned the former Bristol City defender inside-out before curling an effort towards the far corner, only for Cousins to tip the ball onto the bar and away.
NUISANCE: Nicky Adams
From the resulting corner, Sadler's in-swinger caused confusion in the home box, and, despite shouts for a McFadzean hand ball, the Crawley defender poked in at the second time of asking.

HANDS UP: McFadzean does his best Maradona impression
Adams and Ajose quickly had efforts go over and wide and Jones saw his free kick sail just past the post again.

Colchester managed to grab an undeserved equaliser with just a few minutes left to play as Sadler was adjudged to have felled Bean, despite there being very little contact. Wordsworth stepped up and fired straight down the middle. 1-1.

Minutes later, substitute, Billy Clarke skipped past a couple of challenges before his drilled shot rebounded off that famous post and away to safety.

There were 2 more Crawley efforts before the whistle was blown for full time as firstly, Alexander's volley was heading in onto be be clawed away by Cousins and another Adams effort flew just over the bar as the game ended in a draw.

COLCHESTER: Cousins; Wilson, Okuonghae, Eastman, Rose; Bean, Henderson (Sears, 67), Izzet (c) (O'Toole, 76), Wordsworth, Massey; Morrison

REDS: P. Jones; Hunt, Connolly, McFadzean, Sadler; M. Jones, Akpan, Cooper (Simpson, 7), Adams; Ajose (Clarke, 78), Alexander (c)

Some photos courtesy of Pixel8Photos and Crawley Observer.

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