Match Report


Wed 01 Jan 14

A first class display from Sam Walker ensured that the U's picked up their third clean sheet in four games over Christmas and retain their 14th place in the League One table.

Walker pulled off several excellent saves to complement a firm defensive display from the U's, who worked hard to keep the Dons at bay throughout the match. 

Having capitulated to concede five here last year, the U's were determined to bounce back from their weekend defeat to Crewe and pick up another vital point. 

The U’s made two changes from the defeat last time out against Crewe, with Sanchez Watt making his first start since August and Ryan Dickson replacing Blair Turgott and Dom Vose.

Within the opening few moments, the ball was whipped across the U’s area, to an unmarked Dale Jennings whose poor header flew over the bar and into the supporting away fans behind the goal.

Soon after the first corner of the game was awarded to the home side as Okuonghae deflected the ball wide from a Ben Reeves shot. The corner came to nothing and was defended well by Colchester.

The U’s won their first corner of the afternoon when a Sam Walker goal kick was sliced behind by Jordan Spence who sliced it again trying to defend the corner, but it came to nothing.

Up the other end MK Dons wide man Jennings crossed the ball in dangerously, before a deflected clearance fell to Reeves who couldn’t make the most of his opportunity as the ball bobbled out of play for a goal kick.

Okuonghae miscontrolled a pass which allowed a fierce shot from Bamford, which was parried away and cleared by Sam Walker and Okuonghae

The home side were on the front foot as again Jennings was allowed to attack down the left, only stopped by a very well timed Wilson block.

Ibehre was fouled in a needless position, allowing Garbutt to get a cross into the box. Eastman met the ball with a downward header, but Martin was equal to it, holding the ball.

Jennings was proving to be a dangerous man for the Dons as his powerful drive was stopped by Walker, almost straight into the path of the diving Patrick Bamford.

Lewington got past Wilson and played the ball across the 6 yard box with pace, needing only a touch for the first goal of the game, but it was missed by everyone except Garbutt, who gratefully accepted the ball and cleared away.

A free kick from almost the exact same position was once again put across by Garbutt, but this time no U’s man could attack it, as it sailed behind for a goal kick.

Samir Carruthers was the first to go into the book after a challenge on Watt inside the centre circle.

Just as the board was held up to indicate that one minute was to be added on, a lofted pass found its way to Bamford, who took the ball down, and stuck it on the half volley, but only into the commanding body of Sam Walker in the U’s goal.

This allowed the teams to go into the half time break at 0-0.

From defending a corner early in the second half, Ibehre clipped his man, allowing Williams to get a shot in on goal, before Walker palmed it out for a corner.

From this corner, the ball was half cleared again, only to be put back in and for Bamford to miss the goal from 6 yards out, after Potter had flicked the ball on.

A poor back pass from the Dons allowed Craig Eastmond to get a run at the home defence, before slipping Jabo Ibehre in, only to allow him to slide the ball into the keepers arms.

The home crowd thought they had scored when Bamford broke free and received a pass from Potter, placing the ball into the corner past Walker, but the linesman had signalled for offside, cutting celebrations short.

The first substitution was made by the home side as they brought off their most dangerous looking player, Dale Jennings, to bring on Dele Alli.

The U’s were under a lot of pressure, as a number of corners were swung in to the box, each time dangerously, but well defended by the U’s.

20 minutes into the second half, Sanchez Watt, returning to the squad after a lengthy period, was replaced by Dom Vose, who had impressed on previous performances.

This was just as a free kick was given for a foul on Eastmond, again allowing a dangerous ball to be put across by Luke Garbutt. This was flicked on for a U’s corner, the first of the half, but it was cleared.

The first booking for the U’s was shown to Brian Wilson as he fouled an MK Dons attacker just 10 yards outside the Colchester penalty area, giving Gleeson a chance to strike at goal, but it was squandered as it flew over the bar.

Solid centre back Lee Hodson was taken off with 15 minutes to play, and replaced by George Baldock, as the U’s defended yet another MK Dons corner.

Baldock made a quick impact, running down the right, before finding Bamford in the middle, whose poor shot dribbled into Walkers arms.

There was a chance for a substitution for both teams, as the U’s brought on Gilbey for Craig Eastmond, with Daniel Powell replacing Samir Carruthers for the home side.

Powell ran the length of the left touchline, before getting a shot away, forcing Sam Walker into a low, diving save.

From  a Reeves free kick, Bamford was sent down the line, and picked out Gleeson who forced a great save out of Sam Walker, who was diving the wrong way, before getting a strong hand to the ball, putting it onto the bar and out for a corner.

Colchester were really having to defend now, with Walker parrying a Reeves shot, before tipping over a header, that was surely going in.

Bean was also given a yellow late on, after kicking the ball away.

The fourth official signalled for four minutes of added time, as like in the first half, Bamford was sent through after a lofted pass, but he was flagged as offside, as he smashed the ball high over the bar.

Due to an injury to Magnus Okuonghae, Clinton Morrison had to be brought on for the final couple of minutes.

Colchester had an unbelievable stroke of luck in the dying seconds, as Powell’s cross was headed onto the underside of the bar by Wilson, before deflecting onto the post, and finally being cleared as the full time whistle sounded.

It was definitely a point gained for the U’s, as they defended brilliantly, to earn a tough 0-0 draw.

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