The game started at a breathtaking pace, reports Philippa Nicholson from The Valley. Francis got in a good early cross, but it went just over the head of Anyinsah. Wagstaff made a great run and drew a brilliant save from the U’s keeper at the expense of a corner. Dailly had to make a clearance from Mooney at the other end and Elliot was obliged to concede a corner. The ball was played backed in and Elliot had to make a great one handed save. From the corner, Elliot launched the counter-attack and Williams had to save from Wright-Phillips but was not really tested by the new signing.
A low cross was turned away by Francis for a throw. A back pass by Francis caused danger with Mooney lurking nearby and Elliot had to use all his skills to take control of the situation. A U’s free kick was turned behind by Semedo for a corner. Wagstaff forced Perkins into a mistake as he tried for another corner.
An effort by Mooney was easily saved by Elliot. Bessone tried to make a run, but it was unproductive. Doherty made a rather loose back pass, but Elliot was able to clear. A shot by Gillespie went high and wide.
After the initial flurry, the game was quietening down. After a good start in the game, Francis made a series of errors.
A hanging cross from Gillespie was headed away well by Bessone. A dangerous effort by Colchester was caught by the offside flag, but the Charlton defence was not looking very coherent. Charlton put together a good string of passes, Francis put in a good cross and Jackson had a golden chance to put the ball in the back of the net, but he sliced it wide.
An attempt by Mooney to win a corner failed as Francis stood his ground well. A cross was dealt with well by Elliot. Semedo put in a hard tackle on Gillespie but was ruled to be entirely fair by referee Darren Sheldrake. Charlton advanced, but McCormack’s ball was poor.
Charlton kept up the pressure in a good spell, but it was unproductive. As half time approached, the match quietened down again. A curling shot came in and Elliot had to make an excellent save from Bond. The chance was set up by poor play by the Charlton defence.
Half time: Addicks 0, U’s 0
Williams was taken off because of an injury and replaced by Mark Cousins in the U’s goal. Semedo dealt well with a U’s attack and Charlton won a free kick from his forward ball after Anyinsah’s shirt was tugged. A U’s attack was caught by the offside flag with the Charlton defence slumbering.
Wagstaff advanced, but Anyinsah did not react quickly enough and Cousins was able to make a comfortable save. Semedo put in some good play but the first touch by Francis was poor. The U’s advanced but Elliot came out to make a good claim and threw the ball out well. Charlton kept up the pressure and had a good spell of possession, but it did not lead to anything. However, it roused the Addickted.
Anyinsah made a great run and won a throw. Colchester’s attacks were not penetrating as far as they did in the first half. Very much against the run of the play, Gillespie put the ball in the back of the net, but the referee awarded a free kick to Charlton for what appeared to be an offside, but it may have been an unfair challenge on Dailly that was the issue. He went across to talk to the assistant and they had a long conversation and the referee gave the goal. The fourth official got involved and came on to the pitch and Christian Dailly also intervened. The referee went for another chat with the assistant and reversed the decision to a free kick. Extraordinary scenes at The Valley!
In the end the decision was a dropped ball on the edge of the Charlton penalty area which was contested. Paul Benson came on in place of Anyinsah. Benson got in a cross and it was turned away for a corner. Cousins punched the ball away. Jackson forged back in, but the ball was cleared.
Bessone found space in the area, but was tackled well. Francis provided some good work. A superb overhead volley was scored by Bradley Wright-Phillips, the top scorer in League 1, t make it 1-0.
Izzett advanced, but McCormack tackled well at the expense of a corner. Dailly made a great header away. The U’s made a call for a penalty, but the referee ruled against them, disappointing the four hundred or so U’s supporters.
Colchester made a double substitution with Gillespie and Perkins taken off. Bessone was injured after an excellent debut and was replaced by Fry. Colchester were given a free kick in a dangerous position by the lino but the ball went straight to Elliot.
Colchester threatened again and the ball went inches past the post for a corner. The volley from Wordsworth sailed into the Jimmy Seed stand. Fry defended well as the U’s threatened and found Semedo who won a free kick. Wright-Phillips came off to a great ovation and was replaced by Nathan Eccleston.
Charlton had a free kick 25 yards out. Jackson’s effort went into the wall. Seven minutes were added on. It was frantic stuff. A shot from Mooney went into the side netting. Wordsworth had to make a great block to deny Charlton. The Addicks kept possession in the U’s half. Semedo, who had been first rate throughout, won a free kick which was wasted by Dailly. The U’s advanced, but Elliot punched clear. The keeper put a cross over the bar for a corner. The ball was cleared off the line by McCormack and the final whistle went.