Gallery: Wordsworth writes a winning line for U's in derby

ANTHONY Wordsworth once again proved to be the thorn in Southend's side as his brace sealed victory for Colchester in the Essex derby last night.

Stuart Watson

ANTHONY Wordsworth once again proved to be the thorn in Southend's side as his brace sealed victory for Colchester in the Essex derby last night.

The 21-year-old - many of whose family live in Southend and support the Shrimpers - scored either side of the break to take the U's to within two points of third-place Charlton.

Having scored the crucial second at Roots Hall on Boxing Day earlier this season, Wordsworth - a U's youth team product - has now scored three goals against the club's local rivals.

The left-winger netted his first in the fourth minute thanks to a comedic piece of defending from Adam Barrett, the visiting skipper kicking the ground rather than the ball as it rolled into the net.

The U's youngster then scrambled home a corner from close range following Kayode Odejayi's nod down to seal the victory soon after the hour mark.

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With U's boss Aidy Boothroyd not at the game due to a family illness, assistant manager John Ward and reserve team boss Joe Dunne took joint charge of the team.

There was just one change to the side that came from behind to beat Carlisle 2-1 at the Weston Homes Community Stadium last Tuesday, Kayode Odejayi's impressive substitute performance in that game elevating him to the starting line-up at the expense of Steven Gillespie.

Winger Damien Scannell and striker Francis Laurent both passed late fitness tests for Southend who were without midfielders Alan McCormack (suspended) and Anthony Grant (ankle).

Pat Baldwin and Scott Vernon were both ineligible to play for Southend under the terms of their loan switches from the U's and so neither travelled to the match.

Playing on a pitch more conducive to beach soccer due to the fact there was so much sand on it, Colchester stormed into a fourth-minute lead thanks to a piece of comedic defending from the visitors.

After Jean-Yves M'Voto diverted the ball straight to Clive Platt in the box, he pulled the ball back across to an unmarked Anthony Wordworth at the far post. The chance looked to have been wasted when the left-winger tamely stabbed a shot at goal but, as the ball trickled slowly towards the line, Adam Barrett contrived to kick the floor in front of his keeper and the ball - just about - trickled into the back of the net.

The television footage of goal was repeated over and over on the big screen soon afterwards, much to the delight of the home crowd.

Southend came back at their Essex rivals when a strong run and cross from Scanell down the right resulted in Laurent heading straight at keeper Ben Williams, but the U's quickly got back to asking all the questions going forward.

With full-backs John White and Marc Tierney looking to get forward at every opportunity, the hosts had a goal ruled out for offside in the 28th minute.

Following some intricate build-up play across the box, Tierney's cross-cum-shot was palmed away to John-Joe O'Toole, however the flag was raised when he clipped the ball back for Odejayi to head home from close range.

For all Colchester's pressure, Southend did show sporadic glimpses of their counter-attacking threat - especially down the wings. Scott Spencer stabbed weakly at goal following another good run from Scannell down the right, while Laurent fired across the face of goal after beating Magnus Okuonghae for pace down the left.

Colchester were forced into a substitution five minutes after the break when O'Toole, holding his back, was replaced by Phil Ifil. That change facilitated a move inside to his favoured central midfield role for David Prutton.

Southend threw men forward as if it was the last few moments of the match from very early on in the second half. Defender M'Voto played more as a centre-forward than centre-back as the U's were forced to weather long spells of Shrimpers possession.

The visitors failed to take advantage of their purple patch though and were duly punished after 63 minutes when Wordsworth scrambled home his second goal of the match. Prutton's deep corner was headed back across goal by Odejayi to allow the 21-year-old to net his third Essex derby goal of the season from inside the six-yard box.

Both sides introduced strikers off the bench as the second half wore on in the form of Steven Gillespie and Matthew Paterson, and both squandered decent chances soon after their arrivals.

First Southend's Paterson had a shot from inside the box well saved by Williams before, at the other end, Gillespie also had an effort smothered by the keeper.

Visiting skipper Barrett's nightmare evening was completed in the closing stages when he had a potential headed consolation goal ruled out for what the referee deemed an infringement in the box.

U's boss Aidy Boothroyd's mind will have no doubt been elsewhere considering the nature of his absence, but this result will have at least brought a little cheer on what was his 39th birthday.

The line-ups

Colchester United: Ben Williams 7, John White 7, Marc Tierney 6, Magnus Okuonghae (cpt) 7, Matt Heath 7, David Prutton 6, Anthony Wordsworth 7 (Ian Henderson 85), John-Joe O'Toole 6 (Phil Ifil 50 - 6), Kemi Izzet 6, Clive Platt 7 and Kayode Odejayi 7 (Steven Gillespie 78 - 5). Unused subs: Mark Cousins, Danny Batth, David Fox and Medy Elito.

Southend United: Steve Mildenhall 6, Simon Francis 6, Scot Malone 7, Adam Barrett (cpt) 5, Jean-Yves M'Voto 5, Damien Scannell 7, Sanchez Watt 6, Jean-Francois Christophe 6, Franck Moussa 6, Francis Laurent 6 and Scott Spencer 6 (Matt Paterson 73 - 6). Unused Subs: Osei Sankofa, Dougie Freedman, John Herd, Ian Joyce, Harry Crawford and Kyle Asante.

Booked: Laurent (25).

U's Man-of-the-Match: Anthony Wordsworth.

Referee: Mr N Miller.

Attendance: 6,466.