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17:57 17th March 2012


It was a tale of two bizarre goals at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, but Town more than deserved their point in Essex against hosts Colchester United.

Alex Smithies' early error gifted Steven Gillespie an early goal to put the hosts ahead, but although Simon Grayson's side bossed possession for large parts of the game the Town 'keeper had to produce a fantastic penalty save to keep his side in the game during the second-half.

In the end that made all the difference, with home defender Magnus Okuonghae heading past his own goalkeeper as the Terriers grabbed the equaliser with barely 40 seconds of added time remaining.

Town, in their change strip of predominantly red shirts with black shorts and socks, had to defend an early long throw from the home side and left back Calum Woods took a knock while putting in an important defensive header to clear at the back post.

GOAL - The hosts took a shock lead inside the third minute in utterly bizarre circumstances upon the restart. The drop ball was knocked back to Alex Smithies, but when the Town goalkeeper dropped the ball to the floor he took far too long in making the clearance - allowing striker Steven Gillespie to charge it down, with the ball hitting the striker before looping over the stricken 'keeper and into the vacant net.

Simon Grayson's shell-shocked side tried to fight back through a corner that came to nothing before Novak broke clear down the right, only for Ward to head his good quality cross weakly wide.

The Terriers continued to press following the early set back and soon created a decent shooting opportunity for Joey Gudjonsson on the stroke of 10 minutes, but the former Iceland international blazed high and wide as an opponent tried to close him down.

The lively Odejayi flicked a header from a right wing cross well wide as the U's tried to launch an attack a few minutes later but Grayson's men were enjoying the majority of possession without troubling Colchester custodian Ben Williams.

Gudjonsson and Kay then orchestrated a superb, patient passing move just after the quarter-hour mark, with Joey eventually finding Jordan Rhodes with a good incisive pass into feet; Jordan found the run of Roberts down the left, but his cross was taken in well by the goalkeeper with Novak lurking nearby.

The Terriers were using the width well, with Woods and - in particular - Hunt overlapping to good effect. One such run from the flying right back was picked out well by Kay, but when Hunt played a short pass infield Ward could only blast a powerful low drive wide of the goalie's left-hand post. Still, the signs for the visitors were promising.

Joey then uncharacteristically spurned the chance to shoot from the edge of the box in the 27th minute after playing an excellent one-two with Rhodes, with his attempted pass to the right for Hunt being cut out.

Despite Town's best efforts they had failed to trouble Williams in the Colchester goal and it took a typically excellent block from the returning Peter Clarke to deny Anthony Wordsworth a clear shot at goal in the 36th minute after enterprising work from Odejayi down the Town right.

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A good ball forward from Sean Morrison then found Novak down the right channel, who in turn played in Hunt; his clever turn created space for a left-footed cross to the back post, but Rhodes - on his 100th League start for Town - could only flick a header wide at full stretch when perhaps Roberts was better positioned to try his luck behind him.

Town were dominating possession at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, but obvious goal-scoring opportunities were still in short supply. Calum Woods attempted to score his first goal for the Terriers in his 21st appearance for the side with a 25 yard drive in the 43rd minute, but his effort drifted well wide - much to the glee of the home supporters.

Town's players cut frustrated figures as they departed into the tunnel at the interval, having seen a lot of the ball without being able to find the necessary final ball to level the scores and correct the early individual error.


Town started the second half having made no changes in personnel during the interval and normal service was resumed upon the restart, with good pressure from Rhodes winning the Terriers a corner. Unfortunately, Roberts' corner went out of play as it curled towards the penalty spot.

BOOKING - Gary Roberts was shown the first yellow card of the game in the 53rd minute for a late tackle from behind on right back Brian Wilson as he stepped inside the Town man.

Home midfielder Wordsworth then curled a shot just over the bar from the edge of the box after his initial shot from Henderson's cross was blocked by Peter Clarke.

SUB - Simon Grayson introduced Alan Lee to the game in the 59th minute as his side searched for an equaliser; he replaced Gary Roberts. The former Ipswich man was met by a chorus of jeers from the home fans as he entered the pitch and joined fellow strikers Novak and Rhodes.

Town immediately went very close to an equaliser, only to be denied by a mix of the crossbar and goalkeeper. Joey Gudjonsson dinked a cross towards the back post where Danny Ward had ghosted in unmarked, but his left foot volley hit the woodwork before striking the unwitting goalkeeper and bouncing behind for a corner.

Novak eventually made his way to the right wing following Lee's introduction, but Colchester put together one of their best moves of the match in response to Town's close call. Bond and Gillespie played a smart one-two to release the former into the area, but from a narrow angle he could only sting the palms of Smithies.

Hunt and Gudjonsson linked up down the right again soon after, allowing the Icelander to deliver another good ball into the area. Unfortunately for the Terriers, Rhodes headed the ball tamely wide after getting between the two centre backs.

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The introduction of Alan had injected real life into the game and chances were finally coming to both sides. Grayson was audibly encouraging his side from the touchline, sensing a goal could be on its way.

SUB - Colchester boss John Ward made his first substitution in the 68th minute, with loanee Gavin Massey replacing Gillespie. Massey moved to the right wing, with Henderson joining Odejayi in attack.

U's goalkeeper Williams did well to gather in a trademark Ward piledriver upon the restart of play before Gudjonsson delayed his pass a moment too long when trying to play Rhodes through on goal, allowing the home defence to play him offside.

Peter Clarke had a real 'heart in the mouth' moment in the 73rd minute when his poor touch inside his own penalty area allowed Massey a chance to shoot at goal, but the skipper managed to get back and get a partial block on his shot, which trickled through to Smithies.

Home centre back Magnus Okuonghae almost scored a spectacular own goal to give Town a vital equaliser minutes later after Clarke played Ward in down the left; his drilled cross was turned inches over his own crossbar by the hulking centre half with both Novak and Rhodes looking to finish.

SUB - Town's second and third changes followed in the 77th minute when new boy Diego Arismendi and Scott Arfield replaced Antony Kay and Lee Novak.

Arfield was immediately into the action, but Rhodes fluffed the final pass to play him in on goal after an excellent Lee header started a breakaway.

Town had to send the ball more directly towards the Colchester area by this stage as well as throw men forward - and the latter factor gave Odejayi a great chance to kill the game off. He dribbled forward into the heart of the Town defence in the 84th minute and shrugged off Sean Morrison before taking aim at goal, but Alex Smithies pulled off a fantastic save to his left side to keep his side in with a chance.

BOOKING - The referee booked Gavin Massey and Jack Hunt - his ninth of the season - in the 86th minute after a confrontation between the pair.

BOOKING - Joey Gudjonsson soon followed Jack into the book after cynically pulling down Kem Izzet at a Colchester counter attack.

Antony Kay Col 320

Colchester continued to press after the free-kick and were soon awarded a penalty when Joey Gudjonsson was adjudged to have brought down a Colchester man just on the inside of the area, although it looked like he got the ball. Up stepped Anthony Wordsworth - but Smithies clawed the ball out of the air and kept Town in with a shout!

Ward hit a snapshot wide as added time approached following Woods' long ball into the area before another cross was directly tamely over the crossbar by Scott Arfield.

SUB - Colchester made a substitution into added time, bringing on tall centre half Matt Heath at the expense of Kem Izzet.

Alan Lee headed a late long ball into the hands of Williams as the Terriers desperately searched for the elusive goal - and it came in the final moments!

GOAL - Town scored a late, late equaliser with around 40 seconds of the game remaining - and it was the unlikely source of Colchester defender Magnus Okuonghae that netted the own goal. A long ball forward into a packed home penalty area caused havoc and with Alan Lee putting immense pressure on the defender, Magnus could only divert a looping header over the helpless 'keeper to grab a more than deserved point for the Terriers!


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

Alex Smithies; Calum Woods, Peter Clarke (c), Sean Morrison, Jack Hunt; Gary Roberts (Alan Lee 59), Antony Kay (Diego Arismendi 77), Joey Gudjonsson, Danny Ward; Jordan Rhodes, Lee Novak (Scott Arfield 77)

Unused subs: Ian Bennett, Jamie McCombe

Town bookings: Gary Roberts (53); Jack Hunt (86); Joey Gudjonsson (88)

Colchester booking: Gavin Massey (86)

Attendance: 3,929

Town: 493

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    Data provided by Press Association


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