A controversial penalty from Leon Clarke condemned struggling Colchester United to a 1-0 defeat at Scunthorpe United this afternoon and their worst-ever start to a league season.

Clarke struck home from the spot with 14 minutes to go to give Iron all three points at Glanford Park and extend the U's run without a win to eight league matches this season.

It is the U's worst-ever start to a league season, in terms of games without a win.

Mark Cousins was called into action early on when he palmed Jimmy Ryan's lofted effort over.

But the U's had their own chances and Anthony Wordsworth and Gavin Massey both registered efforts on goal, before Matt Heath headed a Michael Rose free-kick wide from a good position.

Clinton Morrison was denied from point-blank range by keeper Sam Slocombe and then Heath's effort was scrambled away, while Marcus Bean's long-range drive was tipped over by the Iron goalkeeper.

But after Cousins had twice denied Mark Duffy, the U's fell from behind when Clarke scored from the spot.

And although Colchester pushed for an equaliser in the closing stages, there was no way back for John Ward's side.

For a full match report, pictures and reaction to Colchester's defeat to Scunthorpe, see Monday's Gazette.