Gutsy draw for Boothroyd's boys

TEN-man Colchester United rewarded new manager Aidy Boothroyd with a hard-earned point at Southampton this afternoon.

Carl Marston

TEN-man Colchester United rewarded new manager Aidy Boothroyd with a hard-earned point at Southampton this afternoon.

The U's had to cope with a lot of adversity, including the loss of their two most experienced players - Kem Izzet was sent off and skipper Pat Baldwin was stretchered off.

Izzet was flashed the red card in the 36th minute, for a rash late lunge on Saints winger Adam Lallana. Izzet appeared to win the ball, but he did go in with both feet.

A red card for violent conduct will almost certainly mean a three-match ban for the U's midfielder.

And there was more woe for the U's when Baldwin was stretchered off in first-half stoppage time, with his right leg strapped up. The gutsy defender looked in real pain.

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To make matters even more frustrating for Boothroyd, his team also squandered the best two chances of the game, both at the end of the first half.

Ashley Vincent hit the bar when managing to lift his shot over keeper Kelvin Davis, while Kevin Lisbie was desperately close to nodding home Vincent's cross from point blank range.

New U's boss Boothroyd made four changes to the side that last featured in the league against Leeds last weekend. In came right-back John White, midfielders Anthony Wordsworth and John-Joe O'Toole, and striker Clive Platt.

Included in the Saints line-up were two former U's players - ex-skipper Dean Hammond and former loanee Neal Trotman - and two ex-Ipswich players in keeper Davis and left-back Dan Harding.

And it was Hammond who conceded the game's corner, with a defensive header on six minutes. Wordsworth, starting his first game of the season, delivered the corner but Lloyd James headed to safety.

Southampton threatened first in the 13th minute. Wayne Thomas' cross was heading for danger-man Ricki Lambert, but skipper Pat Baldwin did just enough to put off the former Bristol Rovers striker. His subsequent header drifted wide of target.

Five minutes later and the Saints were desperately close to breaking the deadlock. Matt Paterson managed to get beyond keeper Ben Williams, but his final shot was hastily cleared off the line by Magnus Okuonghae, with an empty goal beckoning.

At the other end, Wordsworth won a free-kick in a dangerous position, and he immediately climbed to his feet to collect the ball. However, he could not take advantage, curling the free-kick over the bar with Davis untroubled.

Williams was forced into his first real save in the 27th minute. But it was a speculative long-range shot from Lloyd James, which the U's keeper dealt with impressively down on his haunches.

Saints winger Jacob Mellis was the first player to be booked, for a late challenge on Marc Tierney near the touch-line in the 32nd minute.

There was a big blow for the U's when Izzet was sent off on 36 minutes, for a late lunge on Lallana near the right touch-line. Referee Mr Scott was quick to rush over to the U's midfielder and flash him the red card for violent conduct.

Shortly afterwards and striker Paterson rifled a shot over the top from just 10 yards out, as the Saints tried to make their numerical advantage count quickly.

But it was the visitors who came so close to scoring in the last minute of the first half. Vincent burst onto Wordsworth's long ball forward, shrugging off the attentions of Harding and then lifting his shot over the advancing Davis, only for the ball to thud back off the bar.

The luck was certainly not going for United, and they lost their skipper Baldwin to a leg injury during stoppage time. He had to be stretchered off.

Still the U's almost scored before the break, in the fifth minute of injury time. Vincent whipped over a cross which only needed a touch, but Kevin Lisbie was unable to nod home from a few feet out.

Southampton 0 Colchester United 0

Trotman could have scored against his old club within two minutes of the restart, but he aimed his free header straight at Williams from close-in.

The U's other old boy, midfielder Hammond, also tried to get in on the act with a 30-yard shot on the hour mark that Williams easily gathered.

Otherwise, United coped quite well until Southampton began to throw more men forward. Keeper Williams looked to have been barged off the ball when trying to intercept a corner, but substitute Jake Thomson could not capitalise, heading wide from just a few feet out.

Debutant O'Toole came to the U's rescue in the 76th minute. The Watford loanee managed to steer the ball over his own bar from Joseph Mills' threatening cross.

With three minutes remaining, Hammond again peppered the target with another 30-yard shot. This one whistled over the bar. And the ex-U's man then smashed another one onto the top of the net in injury-time.

Squads

SOUTHAMPTON: Davis 7, Thomas 7, Perry 6 (sub Schneiderlin, 69), Trotman 7, Harding 6, Mellis 5 (sub Mills, 46), HAMMOND 8, James 7, Lallana 6, Lambert 7, Paterson 6 (sub Thomson, 62). Unused subs: Bialkowski, Wotton, Gobern, Lancashire.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Williams 8, White 7, OKUONGHAE 8, Baldwin 7 (sub Heath, 45+4), Tierney 7, Vincent 7, Izzet 4, O'Toole 6, Wordsworth 7, Lisbie 7, Platt 6 (sub Vernon, 79). Unused subs: Maybury, Fox, Elito, Hackney, Cousins.

Referee: Mr Graham Scott (Oxfordshire) 6

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