Colchester United 0 (0) - (0) 2 ROMFORD Attendance 165 - Colchester Community Stadium
By Gary Redwin
Romford advanced to the last sixteen of the Essex Senior Cup with a superb victory over the Under 23 team of EFL League Two side Colchester.
Traffic problems caused a delayed kick off at the ten thousand plus capacity stadium which was not quite full for Romford's second visit there, and for the opening few minutes they kept their shape and let Colchester indulge in some passing around in their own half which did not really get them anywhere, before Boro gained possession and Chris TAYLOR shot narrowly over. Rhys HUGHES in the Romford goal then had to tip over a rasping drive after sixteen minutes for the first of a number of excellent saves he was to make on the night. A few minutes later good work by Khadean CAMPBELL won a corner for Boro from which a clear foul on Jamie MARSH in the box was ignored by the referee. The lively Campbell then had another shot well saved by the Colchester keeper and on thirty seven minutes Hughes had to get down smartly to keep out a low United shot that was heading inside the post. The spectators, who were all housed in the Large West Stand had been well entertained by an end to end first half that ended with a good effort by Ernest OKOH for Romford followed by a comfortable save by Hughes.
Boro kicked off the second half attacking the goal nearest to their segregated fans and almost immediately had them on their feet as they took the lead. Kurt SMITH lifted a long ball into the box which was half cleared to Taylor and his through pass back in was collected by Campbell to knock in after a well timed run that beat the offside trap. A few minutes later a Colchester forward was clear through but Hughes was quickly off his line and blocked the shot. It was still all action in the opening exchanges as Smith drove a free kick narrowly wide after Greg AKPELE's dribble was stopped unfairly just short of the box and then Smith had to curtail a dangerous Colchester breakaway at the cost of a yellow card.
There was then a lengthy stoppage and a lot of concern for Marsh who had to be stretchered off after sustaining a head injury which hopefully will not be too serious. Soon after the game restarted a Colchester long shot was not too far over followed by Okoh's run and shot deflected behind for a corner. The referee then made a wrong decision that was to have repercussions for Romford later in the game when he penalised Nathan OKOYE with a yellow card when in fact he was the one being fouled.
On seventy seven minutes Boro had a two goal cushion as a nice bit of tight control by substitute Danny Jones allowed him to find Campbell out wide and Jones then ran into the box to smash Campbell's pulled back cross high into the net. Not long after Okoye received a second yellow card followed by the inevitable red meaning Romford would have to dig deep to defend their lead and as the game went into a lengthy period of added time Hughes had to parry a shot from almost point blank range with skipper Danny COSSINGTON as always, on hand to sort out the rebound.
There was relief as a Colchester goal was ruled out for offside and right at the death they fired over another decent looking opening before the final whistle went and Romford could celebrate their first ever competitive victory away to a Football League club.
COLCHESTER UNITED (0) 0
ROMFORD (0) 2 Khadean CAMPBELL 46, Danny Jones 77
Team: Rhys HUGHES, George FORREST, Kurt SMITH. Jamie MARSH (Danny Jones 58), Ayo OLUKOGA (Nathan JOSEPH 73), Danny COSSINGTON (C), Chris TAYLOR, Nathan OKOYE, Khadean CAMPBELL (Roddy Lemba 79), Ernest OKOH, Greg AKPELE
Unused Subs: Max Bolton, Michael Clarke