Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Colchester
Neil Mellor’s brace gave Gary Megson his first home win in charge of Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
The on-loan Preston striker got his first when Colchester captain Kemal Izzet sliced a clearance in to his path leaving only Ben Williams in goal to beat.
Mellor took his opportunity well and lobbed the Colchester goalkeeper from 12 yards out. Williams had got his fingertips to the ball but could not prevent it reaching the net.
The striker doubled Wednesday’s lead after 51 minutes to take his goal tally to 16 for the season. Otsemobor had linked up well with Gary Teale in the build up before he delivered a perfectly weighted cross that Mellor headed in from six yards out.
Colchester scored a late consolation when O’Donnell parried Andy Bond’s shot in to the path of Steven Gillespie, but there was no time left for a comeback.
Sheffield Wednesday manager Gary Megson said he was disappointed to concede the late goal, but praised the effort and honesty of his players.
“The team was picked today just on getting 11 individuals out there that are honest, that I know will give it their best for Sheffield Wednesday.
“They might not be the best 11, but your starting point has to be just honesty and you know what you’re getting.
“We just needed to get that team out there today,” he said.
The visitors started the game at Hillsborough with the same team that had played in their last two league games. Wednesday on the other hand made six changes from the side that lost 3-1 to Brentford in midweek.
John Ward’s consistent team selection seemed to be paying off in the early stages as Colchester enjoyed the majority of the early possession.
Both sides could have taken an early lead with both Danny Batth and David Mooney having shots that went inches wide at each end of the pitch.
Jermaine Johnson also went close when his goal bound shot was pushed round the near post by Williams.
Colchester winger Ashley Vincent looked dangerous on the left flank throughout the match, but his killer instinct went missing in the 55th minute when a heavy touch five yards from goal allowed O’Donnell time to position himself and divert the shot wide.
Mellor should have had a hat trick three minutes from the end when he headed over the crossbar from two yards out. The result means Wednesday are now seven points clear of the relegation zone.
Colchester United manager John Ward said: “We have come up against a very aggressive Sheffield Wednesday.
“The goal we picked up at the end was too little too late.”
The result meant Colchester remained 11th in the table nine points away from the playoffs. Ward said that he had now ruled out his team’s chances of gaining promotion.
“There is enough quality for us to improve. I just want it a bit quicker than we will get it.”
Wednesday will hope to get another home win on Tuesday when they host Tranmere Rovers.
13. Richard O’Donnell, 3. Lewis Buxton, 8. Tommy Miller (c), 12. Danny Batth, 17. James O’Connor, 21. Gary Teale (10. Giles Cokes 84’), 22. Reda Johnson, 23. Jermaine Johnson (24. Chris Sedgwick), 32. Gary Madine, 33. Neil Mellor, 36. Jon Ostemobor.
Substitutes not used: 16. Lee Nicholls, 11. Daniel Jones, 14. Darren Potter, 18. Joey O’Brien, 30. Clinton Morrison.
Next fixture: Tranmere Rovers (H) Tuesday 5th April
1. Ben Williams, 6. Nathan Clarke, 7. Ashley Vincent, 10. Kemal Izzet (c) (8. John-Joe O’Toole 75’), 14. Andy Bond, 17. David Perkins (26. Lloyd James 60’), 18. Steven Gillespie, 19. David Mooney (15. Kayode Odejayi 67’), 20. Brian Wilson, 24. Ben Coker, 28. Matt Heath.
Substitutes not used: 12. Mark Cousins, 16. Ian Henderson, 22. Anthony Wordsworth, 31. Tommy Smith.
Next fixture: Rochdale AFC (H) Saturday 9th April