Date: 11th March 2008 at 9:41pm
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Wednesday climbed out of the Championship bottom three with a vital victory at Layer Road to put a nail in the Colchester relegation coffin thanks to goals from Deon Burton and Wade Small on Tuesday night.

The last time the Owls’ travelled to the U’s ground, Paul Sturrock got his marching orders following a heavy defeat, but Wednesday will leave with a better taste in their mouth this time around, in what could prove a huge victory in the battle against the drop.

Owls boss Brian Laws stuck with the same side that helped turn around the vital clash against QPR at the weekend, with Sean McAllister and Deon Burton starting in place of Ronnie Wallwork and Enoch Showunmi respectively.

Laws was wary of the threat the U’s were going to pose prior to the match, revealing that Colchester would almost be as good as relegated if they didn’t bag all three points against his charges.

And the hosts didn’t let the Owls gaffer down in the opening exchanges as they really took the game to Wednesday with a fast-paced opening which left Wednesday unable to find a response early on.

They were rewarded just four minutes in to the clash as the nightmare start unfolded before Laws’ eyes as Karl Duguid put in a fine ball for former Charlton Athletic man Kevin Lisbie to drill a low effort in to the bottom corner of Lee Grant’s goal.

Wednesday were reeling and the early goal visibly lifted Colchester as Johnnie Jackson forced Grant in to a low save as the U’s went forward looking to double their advantage.

The Owls did find their way back in to the game gradually, but failed to cause any problems for the Colchester goalkeeper as the hosts defence held firm to any response the Owls offered.

At the other end Duguid and Johnson had half-chances for Colchester before the Owls levelled matters on 18 minutes through Deon Burton’s second goal in as many games.

Graham Kavanagh bagged a goal on Saturday and he proved a vital inclusion again as his inch-perfect free-kick found Burton in the heart of the penalty area for the former Derby man to head in to the back of the net to level the scores.

As the goal had done for the U’s, the leveller from Burton gave Wednesday renewed confidence and loanee Franck Songo’o came close before Kavanagh saw a long-range free-kick well blocked.

The clash turned in to a scrappy affair as the half drew to an end although Wednesday were enjoying the majority of the possession and will have been the happier of the two teams.

Colchester did look to find a way through to go in to the break in the lead but it was Wednesday who had that honour, as Wade Small raced half the length of the pitch to give the Owls a priceless lead going in to the break with a cool finish.

Marcus Tudgay fed the former MK Dons man and he out-paced his markers to give Colchester stopper Dean Gerken no chance.

Half-Time: Colchester 1-2 Wednesday

Wednesday will have been expected the U’s to come out fighting at the start of the second half with an immediate response but it never came as both sides battled out a scrappy opening to the second half with chances coming few and far between.

Kemal Izzet and Duguid were the main danger men for the hosts but they were given little time in and around the Owls’ box, with the young Wednesday defence holding firm once again.

Johnnie Jackson drilled a low shot which failed to trouble Grant in the Wednesday goal but that was as good as it got for the hosts with regards to chances at goal.

Tommy Spurr was well positioned to block an effort from the lively Duguid, before the same Colchester man saw a dangerous in-swinging cross well cleared by Graham Kavanagh as the U’s started to put some pressure on the Wednesday goal.

Deon Burton had the chance to all but win the game for Wednesday with a golden opportunity with ten minutes remaining but Gerken saved his effort when the Owls’ hitman should have done better with the best chance of the second half.

Laws brought Showunmi and O’Brien on to replace Songo’o and Small respectively as Wednesday held out in the latter stages at everything Colchester had to throw at them.

The referee added four minutes stoppage time from somewhere, but the Owls clung on for all three vital points to lift them out of the bottom three and put a nail in the Colchester relegation coffin.

Full-Time: Colchester 1-2 Wednesday

Wednesday: Grant; Hinds, Beevers, Wood, Spurr; Songo’o, McAllister, Kavanagh, Small; Burton, Tudgay. Substitutes: Burch, O’Brien, Wallwork, Boden, Showunmi.

Colchester: Gerken; White, Coyne, Virgo, Ifil; Duguid, Izzet, Hammond, Jackson; Lisbie, Platt. Substitutes: Bankole, Balogh, Wordsworth, Elito, Vernon.