Blues pip U's in Carling Cup thriller
Wycombe Wanderers 3 Colchester United 3 (aet) (5-4 on pens)
The Blues are through to the second-round of the Carling Cup after beating their old rivals 5-4 on penalties at the end of a thrilling encounter at Adams Park.
The Wanderers started strongly and built a two-goal lead within 12 minutes, only to find themselves under the cosh for the remainder of the first-half and fortunate to reach the interval at 2-2.
The opening goal was controversial. With less than two minutes on the clock, Andy Sandell rolled a free kick into the path of Scott Donnelly and the little midfielder lashed the ball home. The visitors complained that the free-kick was taken before they were ready and that the referee's whistle could clearly be heard just before Donnelly struck the ball. They were right.
The Blues' second goal was scored by Joel Grant who tapped the ball home when Stuart Beavon's shot was parried at the end of a sublime passage of play involving Donnelly, Marvin McCoy and Ben Harding.
The U's began to dominate and Kayode Odejayi pulled one back after 26 minutes when he rose to meet a Michael Rose cross and planted the Ball past Nikki Bull.
Colchester's Ian Henderson was arguably the best player on the park, and when the Blues backed-off and gave him too much time and space, he levelled the scores in style with a 25 yard screamer after 40 minutes.
Wycombe regained their composure after the break and gave as good as they got in an evenly matched second half which remained goalless thanks to Bull thwarting Henderson in a one-on-one situation in the final minute of normal time.
Extra time saw Bull make two more vital saves from Henderson, but there was nothing he could do about Steven Gillespie's powerful penalty-kick which gave the U's the lead after Sandell brought Henderson down in the box.
Stuart Beavon made it 3-3 in the final minute of the first-half of extra time. Cutting in from the right, the little striker darted across the face of the box before rifling a left-footed screamer into the top corner of the Colchester net.
In the shoot-out, the first eight penalties were successfully converted, with Sandell, McCoy, Beavon and Rendell hitting the net for Wycombe.
Bull then saved from Michael Rose and Ben Harding stepped up to win it for the Blues.
Following his quiet debut on Saturday, Joel Grant was heavily involved tonight and showed the Adams Park crowd exactly what he's capable of with a man-of-the-match performance that showcased all his skills.
Another notable performance was that of Marvin McCoy who enhanced the attack superbly and used his pace at the back to save the day with several crucial interceptions.
Wycombe Man of the Match - Joel Grant
Special Mention - Marvin McCoy
Wycombe line-up & ratings
Bull (7), McCoy (7), Tunnicliffe (6), Johnson (6) (Winfield 112 (5)), Sandell (5), Harris (6) (Rendell 80 (5)), Harding (6), Halls (5), Donnelly (7) (Ibe 104 (6)), Grant (8), Beavon (7).
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