Brian Wilson’s unfortunate own goal saw Colchester United fall to a 2-1 home defeat against promotion-chasing Preston North End this afternoon.
Dominic Vose, who was Colchester’s best played in the first half, fired a shot well wide early on after picking up possession from the halfway line before advancing towards the area.
But the U’s received a let-off in the seventh minute when Preston striker Joe Garner’s header clattered the crossbar after Chris Humphrey’s cross had picked him out in the area.
Gavin Massey’s powerful long-range shot flashed just wide of the near post while at the other end, Craig Davies ran at the Colchester defence before firing in a powerful shot which flashed inches over the bar.
Colchester fell behind just before the half hour when Tom Clarke powerfully headed in Paul Gallagher’s corner.
The U’s had a golden opportunity to equalise minutes later when goalkeeper Declan Rudd brought Marcus Bean down in the area.
But Rudd recovered to save Jabo Ibehre’s weak penalty and the U’s went in trailing at half-time.
Ibehre made up for his penalty miss nine minutes into the second half, though.
He ran superbly from the halfway line and shrugged off Clarke in the area and although his first attempt was blocked, the former MK Dons man planted a superb shot past Rudd and into the far corner.
Colchester sent Freddie Sears on for Craig Eastmond with 20 minutes to go, as both sides went in search of a winner.
U’s goalkeeper Sam Walker made an excellent save from point-blank range to deny Garner’s downward header and Ibehre almost connected with Sears’ cross in the area.
But Preston regained their lead with nine minutes to go when Humphrey latched onto Garner’s cross and his cross hit Brian Wilson before sailing into the net, to condemn the U’s to defeat.
For a full match report, pictures and reaction to Colchester’s game with Preston, see Monday’s Daily Gazette.