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16:56 9th October 2010


Town built on their midweek JPT victory over Peterborough with an impressive display - and victory - by three clear goals at previously unbeaten Colchester United at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Lee Clark's side were impressive throughout and deservedly took the lead when Lee Novak (pictured) scored his first of the season. Soon after the in-form Anthony Pilkington netted a second before substitute Jordan Rhodes completed the scoreline with an opportunistic third.

The only blot on the game was a late red card for substitute Lee Croft.

Town, in their change strip of red and black stripes with black shorts and red socks, started in their usual 4-4-2 formation - whereas John Ward deployed the home side in a 4-3-3 shape.

The Terriers had to deal with a couple of hopeful balls over the top in the opening minutes and at the other end Lee Novak had an early penalty appeal turned away by the referee after he clashed with massive centre back Magnus Okuonghae in the box.

Lee Clark's side were backed by a fairly strong wind in the first-half, but it was Colchester who created the first chance of note inside the 5th minute when Ian Henderson got in behind Liam Ridehalgh down the Town left; his low cross was played into a dangerous area, but striker David Mooney could not reach it as he was well marshalled at the near post by Peter Clarke.

BOOKING - Lee Peltier was shown the first yellow card of the game in the 11th minute after he handled the ball as Colchester tried to break.

Colchester enjoyed the lion's share of possession in the opening period, but Town's defence were quick to close down their opponents in order to keep them at bay.

It looked like Town had scored from a 16th minute Graham Carey corner, but a combination of the referee and the linesman ensured that wasn't the case. Carey's deep set-piece found an unmarked Peter Clarke and his knock-down was turned towards goal by Novak; however, Colchester's Ashley Vincent got back to clear off the line. The Town players were convinced the ball had crossed the line, but the officials were having none of it.

BOOKING - Alan Lee was shown a yellow card by the ref moments later for protesting too vociferously.

That near-miss got the Terriers going and they went close again in the 19th minute. Pilkington crossed dangerously into the area after good work from Novak and with Lee lurking, Okuonghae diverted the cross towards his own goal - only for 'keeper Williams to pull off an amazing reaction save to tip the ball over the bar.

Colchester hit back barely a minute later when midfielder David Perkins latched onto a through ball, but Bennett was quickly off his line to smother the ball at his feet.

Henderson hit a hopeful shot on the turn well over the crossbar on the stroke of 24 minutes before Carey hit a long range free-kick straight into the waiting hands of Williams.

Antony Kay's header across the face of goal from another dangerous Carey corner caused havoc on the half hour mark before the Terriers took advantage of their pressure.

GOAL - Town took the lead on the stroke of the 34th minute courtesy of a great Lee Novak strike. The former Gateshead man intercepted a poor David Mooney pass in the centre circle before driving at the heart of the home defence and with the centre backs backing off, he took aim and drilled a powerful low effort into the bottom corner from around 25 yards out.

The team hurried to congratulate the striker on his wonderful first goal of the season and the entire side quickly made their way over to the bench to celebrate with Lee Clark, Terry McDermott, Paul Stephenson and Steve Black.

With the travelling support in good voice, Clark's side continued to press and it took the Colchester custodian two attempts to gather in Carey's 25-yard free-kick in the 38th minute.

Okuonghae needed to be on hand to clear Pilkington's low cross into the area moments later with Novak nearby before a Gudjonsson snapshot drifted wide of goal.

GOAL - Town scored a superb second goal on the counter-attack in the 42nd minute, with Anthony Pilkington netting his third goal in two games. Once again Novak was heavily involved, playing a clever one-two with 'Pilks' to find space on the right flank; the striker raced away into the Colchester half before laying a smart pass across the face of goal - and behind Okuonghae - for the winger to race onto and place the ball beneath the onrushing goalkeeper.

That's how the scoreline stayed until the half-time break - with the Town faithful singing the praises of 'Super Novak'.


Colchester hit the bar after only 70 seconds of the second half, with David Mooney cutting infield from the right flank and sending a 25-yard strike cannoning off the woodwork.

SUB - Town suffered a blow in the 48th minute when goalscorer Pilkington had to be withdrawn - he was feeling at his hamstring. He was replaced by Lee Croft on the right wing.

Town skipper Peter Clarke was leading by example early on and when Mooney chested down a through ball and tried to take aim at Bennett's goal, the defender was on hand to expertly block his effort.

Graham Carey and Lee Peltier played a clever short corner on the right flank in the 53rd minute, but the on-loan winger tried his luck from a narrow angle and only succeeded in smashing the ball over the crossbar.

Substitute Croft made a couple of incisive runs past Colchester left back Williams early on, whereas at the other end Colchester's shouts for a penalty when Kay clashed with Mooney were in vein.

Okuonghae tripped Carey down the Town left in the 56th minute and 'keeper Williams had to fist away Gudjonsson's fierce cross-come-shot.

BOOKING - Town skipper Clarke was shown a yellow card in the 57th minute after he delayed the taking of a Colchester free-kick.

BOOKING - Colchester's Ian Henderson was then booked for diving a minute later.

SUB - Town were forced to withdraw their other goalscorer - Lee Novak - in the 59th minute, with the striker suffering with a back problem. Top scorer Jordan Rhodes took his place.

SUB - Colchester made their own change a minute later, with Henderson replaced by namesake Liam Henderson.

Colchester forward Vincent should have done better with Kemal Izzet's 63rd minute cross, which was delivered right onto his head and over Antony Kay; however, he nodded a tame effort straight at Ian Bennett.

SUB - Town's final change came in the 67th minute, when Joe Garner replaced Alan Lee.

Garner was immediately into the action, brilliantly turning Okuonghae down the dead ball line but failing to find Jordan Rhodes with his low ball across the six yard box.

Town's players were tackling and blocking tenaciously all over the pitch, meaning that the best Colchester could offer was Andy Bond's 73rd minute header that drifted well wide from Wilson's corner.

BOOKING - Lee Croft was booked for deliberate handball in the 77th minute.

SUB - Colchester boss John Ward introduced big striker Kayode Odejayi to the game moments later; he replaced Ashley Vincent.

GOAL - Town clinched the points with an opportunistic goal in the 79th minute, with substitute Jordan Rhodes netting his sixth goal of the season. Colchester left back Williams' pass to centre back Paul Reid was poor, allowing Garner to nip in and poke the ball behind the defence; Jordan had pre-empted this and raced into the area before sending a perfect finish into the 'keeper's bottom right corner.

RED CARD - Lee Croft got his marching orders for a second bookable offence a minute later after he chopped down a Colchester player as he skipped past him.

Clark reorganised his remaining ten men, with Joe Garner dropping into the vacant right wing position - Town effectively now playing 4-4-1.

Ian Bennett hadn't been called upon much during the game, but he was on hand to push Liam Henderson's 85th minute curler around the bar - and then calmly pluck the resulting corner out of the air.

Town worked hard to see out the five minutes of added time, with Rhodes willingly running the channels for his teammates and Garner in particular doing well in an unfamiliar position. In the end they were rewarded with a clean sheet - and most importantly three points.


Town's Team (4-4-2):

Ian Bennett; Liam Ridehalgh, Peter Clarke (c), Antony Kay, Lee Peltier; Graham Carey, Joey Gudjonsson, Damien Johnson, Anthony Pilkington (Lee Croft 48); Alan Lee (Joe Garner 67), Lee Novak (Jordan Rhodes 59)

Unused Subs: Lloyd Allinson, Nathan Clarke, Jamie McCombe, Chris Atkinson

Town Bookings: Lee Peltier (11), Alan Lee (17), Peter Clarke (57), Lee Croft (77)

Town Sending Off: Lee Croft (80)

Colchester Booking: Ian Henderson (58)

Attendance: 4,211

    Data provided by Press Association


    Town was the first club to win three successive league titles in 1926. Only Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have matched this feat.