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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 15 Dec 12 at 16:50 PM

Eddie Howe defied the manager of the month curse as the Cherries recorded a win over Colchester.

Howe, who collected the League One award on Friday, watched on as Lewis Grabban scored the only goal of the game at the Goldsands Stadium.

The striker smashed the ball beyond goalkeeper Mark Cousins four minutes before half-time to set the hosts on their way to claiming all three points.

Despite the U’s improving in the second half, Brett Pitman was unfortunate not to add a second when he hit the post on the hour mark.

The win, however, was marred after Shaun MacDonald picked up what looked like a serious leg injury.

The result keeps the Cherries ninth in the table but just two points of the final play-off spot after Stevenage were beaten by Carlisle.

The hosts had the better of the early exchanges and Pitman was instrumental in their best attacks on his return to the Goldsands Stadium.

The on loan forward saw his free-kick deflected wide before Cousins unconvincingly pushed his powerful shot round the post.

The Cherries kept up the pressure and Steve Cook went close with a glancing header when he met Charlie Daniels’ corner, while Wes Fogden also sent a header narrowly over.

Cousins pulled off a fine reflex save to deny Pitman after he got a touch on Daniels’ free-kick, but the Colchester ‘keeper was finally beaten shortly afterwards.

Eunan O’Kane collected the ball on the edge of the area and played in Grabban with a neat through ball, and he slammed the ball into the side-netting with a decisive left-footed finish.

The Cherries went into the break a goal to the good but without Shaun MacDonald, who was stretchered off just before half-time.

U’s manager Joe Dunne was clearly unimpressed with his players’ efforts in the first-half and made two changes at the interval.

His substitutions had the desired effect and Josh Thompson should have done better when he failed to direct his near-post header towards goal at the start of the second period.

Anthony Wordsworth, who was a transfer target for former manager Lee Bradbury last season, forced his David James in his first save of the afternoon when he side-footed a shot straight at the England international in the 55th minute.

However, it was the Cherries who went closest to finding the back of the net when Pitman guided Marc Pugh’s cross on to the post.

Colchester continued to push for an equaliser and Freddie Sears and Jabo Ibehre had chances to score in a nervous final fifteen minutes.

Pitman did his best to ease the tension around the stadium with a strike from 20 yards, only to drag his effort well wide.

Howe’s team switched to a 4-5-1 formation in the closing stages with substitute Josh McQuoid playing as a lone striker, and the move paid dividends as the Cherries saw off late pressure to claim an important win.

Cherries: James, Francis, Cook, Elphick, Daniels, Fogden (Partington, 90), MacDonald (Arter, 45), O’Kane, Pugh, Grabban, Pitman (McQuoid, 86).

Unused substitutes: Buchel, McDermott, Tubbs, Fletcher.

Goal: Grabban (41).

Colchester: Cousins, Rose, Eastman, White, Thompson, Potts (Wright, h/t), O’Toole (Morrison, h/t), Izzet (Bond, 68), Wordsworth, Sears, Ibehre.

Unused substitutes: Pentney, Duguid, Olufemi, Henderson.

Booked: Wordsworth, Ibehre.

Attendance: 6, 145 (155 Colchester supporters).

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