The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Jon Wal­dron

JOE DUNNE was left beam­ing at mis­sion im­pos­si­ble as Colch­ester com­pleted a smash and grab raid at Gilling­ham to steal all three points just two min­utes from time through An­drew Bond.

Bond set­tled the con­test af­ter fel­low sub­sti­tute Drey Wright’s short pass as the Gills suf­fered a los­ing start to their re­turn to League One.

U’s boss Dunne, who started his play­ing ca­reer at Gilling­ham, said:“It’s a dif­fi­cult place to come and we knew that it would be a hard.

“Gilling­ham is a good club with good fans but I thought we did a job and we were tremen­dous – ev­ery­one played to their limit.

“We had to de­fend a lot from throws and set plays into the box but I thought that we de­served our win and I’m very pleased with how we went about our busi­ness.

“We an­a­lysed ev­ery goal they scored last year and long throws and cor­ners were de­fended well against them.

“We used our sub­sti­tutes wisely and we had a plan and stuck to it.

“We had to be re­silient at times and you have to earn the right to play in any game that you play.

“We had to scrap at times but the goal looked like it was com­ing and we man­aged to get in be­hind their back four.

“It’s a good win for us but it’s only the first game and we’ll be back in this morn­ing, get­ting ready for the Peter­bor­ough United cup tie on Tues­day night.”

Gilling­ham striker Danny Ked­well went close in the open­ing stages with a first-time snap shot in an even first half.

Colch­ester for­ward Jabo Ibehre fired over from five yards from Fred­die Sears’ cross be­fore the Gills went even closer when Ked­well’s spec­tac­u­lar long-range ef­fort was pushed onto the cross­bar.

Sears then curled just wide for Colch­ester and Gills’ Char­lie Lee steered a header past the post from Stephen Gre­gory’s cross, as an even bat­tle en­sued.

Lee went close again for Gilling­ham when Sam Walker de­nied him at the near post and Cody McDon­ald was de­nied by Brian Wil­son’s last-ditch tackle in the area, in the open­ing minute of the sec­ond half.

Stu­art Nel­son pushed away Mar­cus Bean’s first-time shot on the hour but Gilling­ham looked more likely to break the dead­lock, as the clock ticked down.

Myles We­ston hooked over for the Gills from close range and the im­pres­sive Walker then made a fine dou­ble save to deny Chris Whelp­dale and Amine Lin­ganzi.

Joe Martin’s long-range at­tempt flashed inches wide be­fore Bond slot­ted home from Wright’s pass with two min­utes to go, to win it for Colch­ester.

And Martin Allen said: “I’m not sure we de­served to lose. Our lads need a bit of help so they can they be­lieve in them­selves and win games at this level.

“We lost a key player af­ter four min­utes. Matt Fish had a fan­tas­tic sea­son last year – it’s his knee and he’ll have a scan on Mon­day.

“What a game for young Stephen Butcher to make his de­but – I’m re­ally proud of him.” To comment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

PIC­TURES: Max Flego

IN THE NICK OF TIME: An­drew Bond scores late on for Colch­ester

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