Gillespie on target again
Norwich City 2 Colchester United 2STEVEN Gillespie and Anthony Wordsworth were amongst the goals again as free-scoring Colchester United recorded their first draw of the pre-season campaign at Norwich City on Saturday evening.
Norwich City 2 Colchester United 2
By Carl Marston
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STEVEN Gillespie and Anthony Wordsworth were amongst the goals again as free-scoring Colchester United recorded their first draw of the pre-season campaign at Norwich City on Saturday evening.
Both Gillespie and Wordsworth netted their fifth goals of this summer's series of friendly fixtures, with Norwich responding via a brace from half-time substitute Darel Russell.
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Club record signing Gillespie, snapped up for £400,000 from Cheltenham over the summer, broke the deadlock just before half-time thanks to a delightful chip. The 24-year-old had scored a hat-trick at Tiptree and the winner at Chelmsford.
Russell scored twice in quick succession early in the second-half, but Wordsworth earned a draw for Geraint Williams' men with a swift response in the 65th minute.
Saturday's East Anglian clash was an entertaining affair, and Jamie Cureton was close to scoring against his old club after just two minutes. The former U's hot-shot executed a volley on the turn, from Matty Pattison's cross, that forced Dean Gerken into a superb block.
United also posed an attacking threat in the opening exchanges. Gillespie ran half the length of the pitch, in the process showing Canaries midfielder Sammy Clinigan a clean pair of heels, before crashing a shot narrowly wide of the near upright.
Gerken was back in the action on eight minutes. Left-back Jason Shackell charged into the U's box and let fly with an angled drive that ricocheted off the boot of Chris Coyne, only for Gerken to smother down on his haunches.
It was the U's who finished the first-half in the driving seat. A goal-hungry Wordsworth latched onto Johnnie Jackson's delivery and tried his luck with a snap shot that was deflected wide off a defender's leg.
Jackson was the benefactor in the 43rd minute, running onto Gillespie's pass and eying up the target with a long-range thunderbolt that soared high and wide of the near post.
Yet a minute later and Colchester were ahead, courtesy of another special strike from Gillespie. The ex-Liverpool trainee spotted Marshall off his line, following an error by John Kennedy, and dispatched the perfect chip with his left foot. The Canaries keeper arched back to get a hand to the ball, but he could not prevent it from dropping into his net.
However, Norwich wrested control with two quickfire goals from second-half substitute Russell in the 60th and 63rd minutes.
The equaliser was a match for Gillespie's goal. Russell was 25 yards out when he sent a deft, right-footed chip over a marooned Gerken and into the far corner of the net.
Norwich's two half-time substitutes combined just three minutes later, with Russell again the executor. Winger Lee Croft was the provider with a low cross for Russell to sweep home with an outstretched boot.
But the U's were level at 2-2 in the 65th minute. Wordsworth timed his run to perfection, controlling Mark Yeates' through ball and then squeezing his shot beyond the onrushing Marshall.
Those three goals inside five minutes completed the scoring, with both sides making a number of substitutions during the last quarter of the game.
All attention now switches to this evening, when the U's host their first ever game at their new Weston Homes Community Stadium against Athletic Bilbao (kick-off 7.45pm).
NORWICH CITY: Marshall, Omozusi, Kennedy (sub Otsemobor, 82), Stefanovic, Shackell, Pattison (sub Croft, 46), Clingan, Fotheringham, Hoolahan (sub Chadwick, 82), Cureton (sub Martin, 82), Lupoli (sub Russell, 46).
COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken, White (sub Ifil, 82) Coyne, Reid, Lockwood, Yeates, Hammond (sub Izzet, 75), Jackson, Wordsworth (sub Elito, 69), Gillespie (sub Vernon, 60), Platt (sub Wasiu, 75).
Referee: Mr K Wright