Pre-season friendly for Colchester United
4:00pm Monday 6th August 2012 in Sport
FOOTBALL: A BRACE from in-form striker Freddie Sears helped Colchester United hold Championship side Derby County to a draw in their latest pre-season friendly.
Sears struck either side of half-time to ensure the U’s shared the spoils with the Rams, who had to rely on a last-gasp equaliser from substitute Theo Robinson in order to take something from the contest.
Colchester got off to the worst possible start when they fell behind in the ninth minute.
A breakdown in communication resulted in U’s defender Magnus Okuonghae prodding past goalkeeper Mark Cousins, who had advanced to near the edge of his area following a long clearance from his Derby counterpart Frank Fielding.
It was the Rams who generally looked the more threatening of the two sides for the remainder of the half, with Jamie Ward going close with two deflected efforts for the visitors. Jeff Hendrick’s side-foot effort flashed wide of the far post midway through the first half, as Derby threatened to add to their lead.
However, U’s striker Clinton Morrison was unlucky not to score with a clever back-heel after Sears’ cute pass had allowed Brian Wilson to deliver a low cross.
And although Cousins had to be sharp in order to race from his line and avert the danger after Craig Bryson had found himself alone on the edge of the area, the U’s sniffed an equaliser.
It arrived three minutes before half-time – and it was certainly a goal worth waiting for.
Defender Matt Heath did well deep inside his own half to avert the danger and find Ian Henderson, who in turn picked out Andrew Bond as the U’s swept forward.
When Bond released Sears, the former West Ham United youngster drove a fine low shot across goal and into the far corner past the helpless Fielding.
And Sears was in goalscoring mood again, ten minutes after half-time. He finished superbly from the edge of the area, after strike partner Morrison had laid the ball to him.
Colchester looked effective as an attacking force in the second half and maintained possession well.
But Derby looked the more dangerous in front of goal and Ward’s fine effort from 20 yards was tipped over well by the backtracking Cousins for a corner.
Wilson hacked off substitute Gareth Roberts’ header off the line and Cousins pushed away Conor Doyle’s shot, as the clock ticked down.
But with just seconds remaining Colchester were denied victory Robinson raced onto a pass from fellow substitute Will Hughes to salvage a draw for the Rams, after the U’s had surrendered possession cheaply in midfield.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Cousins, Rose, Okuonghae (sub Eastman, 76), Heath, Wilson, Izzet (sub Bean, 68), Bond, Wordsworth (sub O’Toole, 68), Sears, Henderson, Morrison (sub Ladapo, 80). Substitutes (not used): Coker, White, Duguid, Gilbey, Pentney.
Derby County: Fielding (sub Legzdkins, 79), Brayford, O’Connor (sub Roberts, 69), Bryson, Buxton (sub Davies, 80), Keogh, Coutts (sub Doyle, 79), Hendrick, Tyson (sub Robinson, 73), Ward (sub Bennett, 73), Jacobs (sub Hughes, 73). Substitutes (not used): Naylor, Deeney.
Referee: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire). Attendance: 1,352.