Match Report

 

Mon 08 Feb 10


Anthony Wordsworth loves playing against Southend United - and the midfielder grabbed two more goals against the Shrimpers to help the U's complete a derby double.

Woody has now scored four in three games against the U's Essex rivals and his goals either side of half time made it three more crucial points in the club's promotion push.

The club's pitch had come in for plenty of comment before the game and certainly played its part in the first goal and, whilst the visitors had plenty of the ball between Wordsworth's brace, the U's largely held firm in defence.

When they did breach the Colchester back line, Southend found Ben Williams in outstanding form and the U's recorded their twelfth home win of the season.

Boss Aidy Boothroyd was absent as a family illness kept him away from the match, but he would have been proud to see how his troops dealt with the conditions and their opponents on a freezing February evening.

The U's were in front within three minutes, as the pitch played its part early on.

The ball was centred to Wordsworth, whose stabbed ball towards goal totally lacked power, but Barrett stumbled as he went to clear the ball and it trickled agonisingly over the line from a Shrimpers perspective.

The home side were contending with the conditions better in the early stages, but the Shrimpers came close when a surging run down the right found Laurent sneaking in at the far post and Williams did well to parry the ball and collect it at the second time of asking.

Goalscorer Wordsworth should have had a second on seventeen minutes as the ball was knocked into his path on the edge of the box, but he sliced his effort well wide of the target, with his shot going eventually going for a throw.

Minutes later, Odejayi showed his trademark power to shrug off his defender and slam in a low shot that Mildenhall blocked well. The ball came back out for White to cross and the keeper collected well under pressure.

Channel balls were paying dividends for the home team, and they had had the better of the early exchanges, but Southend were growing into the match

Laurent went into the book for hauling back his man, but the U's nearly went two up on the half hour mark.

Mildenhall tipped away the first cross but, when O'Toole thrust it back into the danger area, Odejayi seemed odds on to power his header past the keeper. Somehow the keeper kept it out - and the U's advantage stayed at one.

The U's held firm against the Southend pressure and were using Odejayi's pace to some effect, with the visiting defence unsure against his power.

They spurned a good chance to break when a clearance fell to O'Toole and he drove a shot well wide of the target from distance.

Odejayi then had the ball punched from his head by Mildenhall and, as the visitors hit the U's on the break, Scannell's cross found Spencer, but he couldn't dig out his shot to trouble Williams.

Laurent then looked like he might get away from Okuonghae, but he kept with his man and eventually forced the ball out of play.

He then got pulled up by the referee for a late foul on White, although the visiting fans were not impressed by the decision by the official.

The Frenchman was an outlet though, and he got past his man as he escaped the offside trap, but having cut inside the U's defence, he smashed his shot from close range wide of the post.

The U's started the second half looking for that killer second goal and looked like they might have worked space to get O'Toole in at the far post, but he volleyed wildly over the bar.

They then did well to retain possession down the right and a dangerous cross looked like it might find Odejayi, before in the next U's move, the striker knocked it down for O'Toole, only for Mildenhall to intercept.

O'Toole's time on the pitch came to an end not long afterwards with an injury, with Ifil coming on for him and Prutton slotting into central midfield.

The visitors were looking dangerous on the break and were beginning to build up a head of steam as the hour mark approached.

Scannell was proving to be a thorn in the U's side and had one run and cross that saw the ball wildly deflected behind for a corner.

A couple of minutes later and Okuonghae blocked bravely from a Spencer shot and the U's fans were trying to lift their team and gain a foothold in the game.

Izzet went into the book for a foul on the increasingly dangerous Scannell, and the home side really needed some possession to take the sting out of the Shrimpers' play.

They at least kept the ball in the final third with a throw in and a corner just after the hour mark, and from that corner they went two up.

Prutton delivered it to the far post and Odejayi nodded back into the danger area. The ball stuck in the six yard area and Wordsworth smashed home from close range.

Southend tried for an immediate riposte as Laurent got away down the right, bore down on goal and smashed in a shot that Williams held well.

The U's were on top though, creating uncertainty around the Southend box and the Shrimpers back line was just about holding firm under pressure.

Southend boss Tilson decided it was time to make a change and recent signing Spencer made way, with Paterson coming on for the final quarter of the game.

On the occasions that Southend got into the U's area, Williams was showing dominance of his territory, ensuring that he swept up any danger that arose.

He pulled off a great stop from substitute Paterson with fifteen minutes remaining, before Mildenhall saved equally well from substitute Gillespie, who had broken the offside trap not long after replacing the injured Odejayi.

The match entered its final ten minutes with the Shrimpers desperately searching for a goal, and seeing plenty of the ball.

They went close with a shot as the U's sat deep, Moussa striking from distance to force Williams into a superb save.

From the resulting corner, the visitors thought they had found the back of the net as the ball was headed in from a corner by Barrett, but the referee stopped the celebrations short.

Goalscorer Wordsworth was replaced with five minutes to go as Henderson came on, and the final stages of the game passed wiithout too much incident as the home team recorded another big three points.


    Data provided by Press Association

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