MATCH REPORT: Colchester United 1 Doncaster Rovers 2
A GOAL in the third minute of each half proved enough for Rovers to return to winning ways against Colchester.
David Cotterill put Rovers ahead after just three minutes with a long range effort.
And after Magnus Okuonghae levelled for the hosts, Andy Bond turned Cotterill’s probing free kick into his own goal three minutes after the break.
What proved to be the decisive goal provided relief for a Rovers side that had gone into the break clinging on to level terms despite drawing first blood.
The start could not have been better for Rovers as they punished a Colchester side who looked barely out of bed with just three minutes on the clock.
Cotterill took possession 25 yards out and, under no pressure, tried a speculative effort which dipped over Mark Cousins.
And for the next ten minutes or so they were well on top with the hosts struggling to get a foot in the game as Dean Saunders’ men produced some impressively zippy play.
But once Colchester managed to put a decent spell of possession together, they were well on top.
Increasingly deep defending from Rovers was exploited with neat interplay between United’s three man front line.
Freddie Sears should have put Colchester level on 26 minutes when an excellent dummy sent him clear but the former West Ham man dribbled far too close to goal and left an simple block for Gary Woods.
There was little the Rovers keeper could do as Colchester did draw level in fortunate circumstances.
Sears layed off to Okuonghae on the edge of the box and the defender drilled through a crowded area, the ball bounced back off one post, trickled across the goalline and went in off the other upright.
Colchester piled on the pressure after levelling on the half hour, pushing Rovers further and further back and Marcus Bean rattled the bar from 20 yards with the best of their chances.
Rovers made another strong start after the break and they re-established the lead three minutes in.
Cotterill delivered a free kick in from the left and Bond headed into his own goal under pressure from Chris Brown.
Rovers had a much better hold on the second half than they did the first, pressuring well without really testing Cousins.
Brown volleyed a Tommy Spurr long throw first time but saw the effort blocked on the line by Bond and David Syers completely missed a smart cutback from Brown.
There was none of the nerves that had characterised the first half for Rovers as they saw out the game in relative comfort with Colchester offering little real threat.
Rovers: G Woods, Quinn, Jones, McCombe, Spurr, Cotterill, Syers (Harper, 77), Keegan, M Woods, Bennett (Husband, 71), Brown (Hume, 82).
Subs: Martis, Blake.
Colchester: Cousins, Rose, Okuonghae, Izzet (Wordsworth, 75), Sears, Bond (Morrison, 64), Bean, Henderson, Eastman, Wilson, Massey.
Subs: Pentney, Heath, Duguid, O’Toole, Wordsworth, White.
Referee: David Phillips (Sussex)
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