Lambert home debut ends in defeat

NEW Colchester United manager Paul Lambert could not find that elusive winning formula on home soil, at his first attempt, but the U's gave it their best shot.

Carl Marston

Colchester United 1 Millwall 2

NEW Colchester United manager Paul Lambert could not find that elusive winning formula on home soil, at his first attempt, but the U's gave it their best shot.

In the end, conceding two goals during the first quarter of the game gave the U's too much to do against high-flying Millwall.

A stray pass by David Perkins gifted an opening goal for Lewis Grabban after just nine minutes, and the Lions doubled their tally thanks to defender Paul Robinson's close-range header from Marc Laird's free-kick.

The U's came storming back and Kem Izzet halved the deficit by rifling home Clive Platt's neat flick-on in the 35th minute.

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Try as they might, however, United could not fashion an equaliser despite dominating the second-half. Izzet rattled the underside of the bar with a shot that most home players thought had crossed the line, and the Lions were hanging on grimly at the end.

The U's have therefore still had no joy at their new Weston Homes Community Stadium. Their first six home games have yielded just two draws and four defeats.

But there were real grounds for optimism. The team gave a fully-committed performance and the atmosphere was electric. They have another chance to break their home duck against Carlisle on Saturday.

The U's regained the initiative early in the second period and Hammond had a header cleared off the goal-line by a defender, following Yeates' 47th minute corner. It was the closest that Hammond had come to a goal since his move from Brighton last January.

Five minutes later and Lions keeper Forde was at full-stretch to claw away a marvellous long-range shot from Yeates, that had looked to be curling into the far corner of the net.

It was thrill-a-minute entertainment and Izzet thought that he had netted an equaliser in the 56th minute. However, the midfielder's shot from a narrow angle rebounded down off the underside of the bar and Millwall were able to scramble the ball to safety.

Just as with Platt's early second-half effort at Stockport on Saturday, the U's were convinced that the ball had crossed the line. But referee Grant Hegley allowed play to continue.

The Londoners were prepared to sit back during the final half-hour. Platt peppered the target with a couple of headers, and White blasted a 30-yarder wide, yet Forde was well-protected.

There was drama in injury-time when substitute Scott Vernon was within a whisker of poking home Perkins' cross at the far post, but ultimately this was another night of frustration at the Community Stadium.

Squads

COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken 7, White 7, Baldwin 7, Reid 7, JACKSON 8, Yeates 7, Hammond 7, Izzet 7 (sub Elito, 82), Perkins 7, Platt 7, Wasiu 7 (sub Vernon, 68). Unused subs: Coyne, Wordsworth, Cousins.

MILLWALL: Forde 7, Hackett 7, ROBINSON 8, Whitbread 7, Craig 6, Grabban 8 (sub Frampton, 75), Laird 7, Abdou 6, Martin 7, Harris 6 (sub Easter, 60), Kandol 7. Unused subs: Fuseini, Moore, Edwards.

Referee: Mr Grant Hegley (Hertfordshire)

Attendance: 5,506

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