Colchester Utd 3 Cardiff City 1: Guy supplies Colchester fireworks

Early pace-setters Cardiff fizzle out in Essex as Williams' side grow in confidence
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The Independent Football

This resultwill surely give Cardiff Citypause for thought. They remain top of the Championship but have been stuttering of late, and defeat at Colchester United allowed the chasing pack to close them down yet further. Their manager, Dave Jones, reacted angrily to suggestions that his side were losing their way in the race for automatic promotion.

"Why am I bothered by what is behind us?" said Jones. "I have never had control of that. I feel that everyone is waiting for us to falter. We are top of the League and will remain there a long time. Everybody will stick together. We will keep bouncing back."

Cardiff looked comfortable after they hit back at Col-chester, who had taken the lead through Kevin McLeod at the start of the second half. But they collapsed dramatically, allowing Colchester to score two more goals and add another scalp to their impressive list of wins this season. The substitute Jamie Guy provided the fireworks with a goal six minutes from the end, a penalty from Jamie Cureton sealing the points in stoppage time.

Colchester began brightly, unconcerned by Cardiff's reputation, and it took half an hour for the visitors to threaten their hosts. Michael Chopra crossed from the wing for the awaiting Riccardo Scimeca, but the midfielder headed his effort wide of the post. Moments later, Chopra blazed over from two yards out following a cross from Paul Parry.

After the break Cardiff appeared with renewed vigour. The veteran striker Kevin Campbell drove his short-range shot against the crossbar on 48 minutes and it seemed Cardiff would put a poor first half behind them.

But the Essex side took the lead a minute later. The full-back Greg Halford's cross was not cleared and Kevin McLeod fired a left-footed shot past the Cardiff goalkeeper, Neil Alexander. Layer Road erupted.

Jones's team found an equal-iser on 64 minutes through Chopra, who tapped in his 11th of the season. The substitute Willo Flood provided the cross that Pat Baldwin failed to clear and Chopra took full advantage.

Colchester continued to push forward and on 84 minutes they took the lead through Guy. Kemal Izzet drove his shot goalwards with the ball bouncing into the path of Guy, who shrugged off the attentions of the defender Darren Purse before slotting low past Alexander.

The points were assured in stoppage time when the substitute Ritchie Jones was fouled by Stephen McPhail. Cureton finished his spot-kick well for his eighth goal of the season. McPhail was dismissed, leaving his manager fuming.

The Colchester manager, Geraint Williams, remained remarkably modest despite his side extending their winning run at home to six games, and spoke as highly of the opposition players as his own. His team had upset the Championship leaders, but the most he could muster was the hint of a smile.

"I am smiling inside," said Williams. "You can see why Cardiff are top of the table. But I am delighted for my lads.

"It was a great performance to beat the leaders. Without really being at our best we have fought, battled and created chances. It gives us confidence that we go on in this League and compete."