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Colchester 1-1 Wycombe

SCOTT Rendell scored from the spot as Wycombe Wanderers escaped with a point from derby rivals Colchester.

Scott Rendell

SCOTT Rendell scored from the spot as Wycombe Wanderers escaped with a point from derby rivals Colchester.

It was a point that looked impossible for Gary Waddock's side after a shocking 60 minute display that saw the Us dominate and look to exact revenge for their Carling Cup penalty defeat at Adams Park on Tuesday night.

Colchester striker Ian Henderson rattled the woodwork twice as the Us wasted their dominance and countless chances to put the game to bed.

And they were punished when Rendell scored his first of the season with a 61 st minute penalty.

In truth, Wycombe could have won the game when late chances fell to Joel Grant and Scott Donnelly but it would have been harsh on Colchester.

In the end, Waddock was just happy to leave Essex with a point and stretch their unbeaten start to the season.

Skipper Gareth Ainsworth, Dave Winfield and Rendell returned to the side after being rested for the midweek cup win while Ben Strevens, who served a one-match ban for his red-card on the opening day of the season, was back up front.

There was also a spot on the bench for on-loan striker Elliot Benyon who broke his hand in the first week of pre-season training and was yet to make his debut after his summer switch from Swindon.

After sharing six goals four days ago, the early signs were that the league rematch would be as entertaining and open as the clash at Adams Park.

Colchester midfielder Kem Izzet unleased the first strike of the day on three minutes but his radar was well off and his effort flew high over the bar.

The home side dominated from the outset and Bull had to be alert to deny giant defender Magnus Okuonghae as he connected with a long throw on 12 minutes.

But Wycombe were defending for their lives with Winfield and Tunnicliffe winning the aerial battle and throwing themselves at shots on goal.

Before the game, Waddock warned his side against letting too many crosses into the box and Bull had to be at his best again to palm away a close-range Kayode Odejayi header as the giant striker looked certain to score.

But they had not learnt their lesson and were punished on 24 minutes when Us left-back Danny Rose delivered an inch perfect cross for the sliding Ashley Vincent to put his side 1-0 up.

It was turning into a tough afternoon for Wanderers but they had a slice of luck when Henderson rattled the crossbar when he curled a shot with the outside of his boot 10 minutes before the break.

Waddock's side were virtually non-existent as an attacking force with Grant stretching to head an Ainsworth cross onto the roof of the netbeing their only glimmer of hope in a dismal display which could have been even worse had Bull not pulled off a smart low save to deny Henderson from a tight angle on the stroke of half-time.

An inevitable half-time rollicking failed to inspire Wanderers immediately after the break.

In fact, the game took on a similar pattern to the first-half with John-Joe O'Toole lashing a shot over the bar as Colchester threatened a second.

And Wycombe's frustration was summed up on 54 minutes when defender James Tunnicliffe took it upon himself to try and force the issue.

The giant centre-back, who scored in the 1-1 draw with Scunthorpe last weekend, raced towards the edge of the box but mishit his left-footed shot tamely wide of Mark Cousins' post.

But it was their defensive frailties that were exposed by Colchester time and time again.

And they were outdone by a route-one ball towards Odejayi who helped the ball onto Henderson to rattle the crossbar for the second time.

It was let-off for Wanderers. Could they punish their opponents for it?

The answer was yes.

Donnelly was tripped as he darted into the box leaving referee Gary Sutton with no choice but to point to the penalty spot.

Up stepped Rendell and the striker continued his impressive return from the spot to level for Wanderers on 61 minutes.

It came as Waddock was preparing a triple substitution with Benyon, Stuart Beavon and Ben Harding stripped and ready to come on.

But the goal changed his plans and he opted instead to hand Benyon his debut with 25 minutes to play when he replaced Ainsworth.

The goal had lifted Wanderers and saw the home side lose their way in the match.

And Grant had a great chance to win the game on 81 minutes but he rifled his shot straight at Cousins after being found in space by Rendell before Donnelly fired inches wide of the post in stoppage time.

But in the end, Wanderers were just happy to have something to show for a disappointing afternoon at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

COLCHESTER: Cousins, Rose, Okuonghae, Heath, Wilson, O'Toole, Izzet, Wordsworth (James 73), Vincent (Gillespie 45), Odejayi, Henderson.

Subs (not used): Baldwin, White, Coker.

Booked: Izzet (78 mins), O'Toole (80 mins).

WANDERERS: Bull, McCoy, Winfield, Tunnicliffe, Sandell, Ainsworth (Benyon 69), Halls (Harding 68), Donnelly, Grant (Beavon 86), Strevens, Rendell.

Subs (not used): Foster, Johnson.

Booked: Halls (55 mins), McCoy (71 mins), Beavon (90 mins).

Att: 3,902.

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