Norwich take revenge on U's

COLCHESTER United wilted in the second half of this feisty East Anglian clash as Norwich emphatically gained revenge for their opening day drubbing.The U's were unfortunate to find themselves 2-0 at the break as Chris Martin converted the visitors only two chances of the first half.

Stuart Watson

COLCHESTER United wilted in the second half of this feisty East Anglian clash as Norwich emphatically gained revenge for their opening day drubbing.

The U's were unfortunate to find themselves 2-0 at the break as Chris Martin converted the visitors only two chances of the first half.

But City ran riot after the interval as some horrendous defending allowed Gary Doherty, Oli Johnson and Grant Holt to complete the rout.


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Wes Hoolahan also missed a penalty for the visitors, while Colchester debutant Ian Henderson was dismissed in stoppage time for a wild lunge.

The big surprise in Colchester's starting XI was that Paul Reid was out of the entire squad. The defender had gone under the knife in a secret hernia operation last week and was replaced by Danny Batth - the on-loan Wolves teenager playing for the first time since the 2-2 draw at Oldham last November.

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Altogether, U's boss Aidy Boothroyd made four changes from the side that was thrashed 7-0 at Preston in the FA Cup. As well as Reid, Simon Hackney, Steven Gillespie and Kayode Odejayi all came out to be replaced by Kemi Izzet, Clive Platt and Kevin Lisbie.

Norwich City boss Paul Lambert - given a predictably hot reception by the fans of his former club - was able to name an unchanged line-up from that which beat Exeter 3-1 last week.

Colchester came flying out of the blocks early on in the game, creating two glorious chances in the opening 10 minutes. First David Fox blazed over from a good position, before Anthony Wordsworth's low shot was clawed out of the bottom corner by keeper Fraser Forster.

Norwich's 16th minute opener therefore came well against the run of play. Batth was guilty of a poor clearance and when Russell Martin pulled the ball back to the edge of the box, Chris Martin had the space to turn and fire into the bottom right corner.

City boss Paul Lambert reacted by turning and goading the U's support behind him with an airborne double-fisted arm pump.

The tackles started to go flying in on a very greasy surface, but as the half wore on the U's showed signs of getting back on top as Phil Ifil stabbed a shot from inside the box wide and Wordsworth fired a free-kick into the side-netting.

However, the home side somehow found themselves 2-0 down at the break as Norwich once again scored completely against the run of play just moments before the interval. In a classic counter-attack, Grant Holt sent Martin clear and he raced away before finishing with aplomb.

Two goals from two chances, became three from three five minutes soon after the restart following a dreadful piece of defending from Magnus Okuonghae.

Wes Hoolahan pumped a routine deep free-kick into the box, but the U's skipper made a complete hash of his clearance to leave centre-back Gary Doherty with the simple task of smashing home from close range.

Norwich began to take control from this moment on and U's defender Batth was fortunate not to see red when hauling back Holt just as he was about to race clear.

U's boss Boothroyd reacted by replacing the teenager with Pat Baldwin, but the defender - who the club have accepted an offer from Bristol Rovers for - immediately wrestled Holt to the ground in the box. Fortunately for Colchester, Wes Hoolahan smacked the resulting penalty against the bar.

Baldwin may have got away with that error, but he wasn't to be so lucky in the 81st minute following a criminal piece of defending. The 27-year-old inexplicably tried to play a casual pass across his own box, the ball stuck in the mud and substitute Oli Johnson nipped in to score on his debut.

Colchester's nightmare was completed in the final minute when Baldwin completely misread a long ball over the top to allow Holt to go clear, dribble past the keeper and coolly slot home Norwich's fifth.

And to make matters even worse, Henderson was dismissed in stoppage time for an over-the-top challenge on Darel Russell.

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