Second consecutive win for U's
KAYODE Odejayi once again scored a second half winner as Colchester ground out a 1-0 victory.
Leyton Orient 0 Colchester United 1
KAYODE Odejayi once again scored a second half winner as Colchester ground out a 1-0 victory for the second consecutive week.
The Nigerian headed home from close range in the 54th minute after the impressive John-Joe O'Toole had flicked on Anthony Wordsworth's corner.
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The on-loan Barnsley striker's fourth goal in three games not only extended Aidy Boothroyd's unbeaten start as U's boss to seven games, but also saw the Essex club leapfrog Bristol Rovers into third place in the League One table.
They are now just a single point behind second place Charlton Athletic who were held to a 0-0 draw against Oldham.
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The manner of victory was very much in the same vein as Colchester's gritty 1-0 win over Huddersfield last Saturday. Following a cagey first half, the U's took charge after the break and found the all-important goal when it mattered.
The only negatives for the travelling support - which numbered over 1,000 - was a serious looking knee injury to John White and a minor knock to Kevin Lisbie.
Boothroyd stuck with the same starting XI for the third successive match, while O's counterpart Geraint Williams was forced into a number of changes.
The Welshman - who spent 10 years at Colchester as player, coach and manager - started former U's favourite Scott McGleish up front alongside former Ipswich striker James Scowcroft.
With Cypriot international Jason Demetriou and JJ Melligan both suspended, striker Ryan Jarvis fulfilled an unfamiliar right-midfield position.
Colchester almost took the lead as early as the second minute. O'Toole wriggled free in the box, the ball broke to Clive Platt at close range but keeper Jamie Jones made a brave stop at his feet.
Jones was left unconscious following that save and, after a lengthy period of on-field treatment from the paramedics, he was stretchered off, still out cold, and replaced by sub keeper Glenn Morris.
Midfield was often bypassed by both teams in the opening stages, with long balls aimed up towards the respective target men of Platt and Scowcroft.
Odejayi snatched at a good effort in the 19th minute after a deflected shot fell kindly to him the box in what was a cagey start to the match.
The U's eventually began to get the ball down and play and Odejayi directed a decent headed chance wide of the far post following a great run and cross from left-back Marc Tierney.
Minutes later O'Toole smashed a difficult long-range volley over the crossbar.
At the other end, on-loan Spurs winger Andros Townsend looked a constant threat down the left and he forced a good save from keeper Ben Williams on the half hour mark.
In the follow up to that save, Scowcroft and Williams clashed on the deck and former U's man McGleish was booked for his part in the following scramble.
The veteran striker was incensed by the decision, but almost took revenge three minutes later when his deft first time shot from Jarvis' deep right-wing cross beat the on-rushing keeper before going narrowly wide.
Odejayi wasted another good headed chance as half-time approached, the big Nigerian nodding wide from an unmarked position following Wordsworth's left-wing corner.
The game opened up in the closing few minutes of the first period. Danny Batth had to make an important challenge as Scowcroft lurked, while at the other end Odejayi headed straight at the keeper from six yards following another good in-swinging corner from Wordsworth.
The U's left-winger then fired over from 12-yards after a defensive error, while Scowcroft did the same from just outside the opposite box moments later.
Colchester almost broke the deadlock immediately after the interval. Kevin Lisbie beat his man down the right before cutting the ball back to O'Toole. His well-controlled half-volley looked to be destined for the bottom right-hand corner of the goal, but somehow replacement keeper Morris got down to turn the ball around the post.
The U's did take the lead in the 54th minute though courtesy of an Odejayi header. Having missed two similar chances in the first half, the on-loan hitman made no mistake this time when burying his close-range chance at the back post after O'Toole had flicked on Wordsworth's corner.
It was the Barnsley player's fourth goal in three matches for the Essex club.
There was some bad news for the travelling support on the hour mark when John White was stretchered off following a knee injury. The right-back appeared unable to put any pressure on the injured leg and was replaced by Phil Ifil.
Colchester had commanded the second half, but the hosts showed they were by no means out of the game in the 73rd minute when McGleish's teasing cross was just cut out by Williams as Townsend waited at the far post.
The U's rarely looked in danger of conceding in the closing stages and, despite six minutes of injury time, they were able to comfortably play out the win.