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Sorry U’s crash to seventh defeat on the spin

16:51 01 January 2013

Crawley Town 3 Colchester United 0

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COLCHESTER United slumped to their seventh straight defeat, at play-off candidates Crawley Town this afternoon.

The U’s conceded a fifth minute opening goal to defender Mark Connolly, following poor marking from a free-kick.

And Mark Cousins blotted his copy-book by miscuing an attempted clearance, from Brian Wilson’s tricky back pass, enabling Billy Clarke to slam home the second on 71 minutes.

Nicky Adams completed the scoring by lobbing Cousins in the 87th minute, to wrap up a comprehensive victory.

It all added up to another depressing afternoon for Joe Dunne’s men – the Dubliner blooded new recruits Jack Compton and George Porter, both wingers, as substitutes during the final quarter of the game.

This was the first time a Colchester side had lost seven league games in a row, since 1989, in the season that they were eventually relegated out of the Football League.

The marking was non-existent for Crawley’s early opener as Josh Simpson had a free header at the far post from Adams’ free-kick.

Simpson nodded down to the edge of the six-yard box, and although Clarke’s initial shot was blocked by Cousins, it was simple for Connolly to bury the rebound.

In fact, the U’s could have been two or three goals down inside the first quarter of the game. A goal-bound shot by Mike Jones was blocked, just 60 seconds after Connolly’s goal, while Clarke and Hope Akpan also peppered the target with shots.

The U’s improved as the first half wore on, with their best two chances falling to Anthony Wordsworth.

Midfielder Wordsworth had one effort blocked by the alert Connolly, following Clinton Morrison’s lay-off, and he also lifted a 20-yarder over the bar from a good position on 44 minutes.

United also enjoyed the better of the early stages of the second period, especially when an unmarked Gavin Massey steered a low ball into the six yard box. However, there was no one on hand to plant into an empty net.

But Cousins also had to be at his best again, on the hour mark, to block an angled drive from Clarke down at his near post.

Alas, an error by Cousins, following Wilson’s under-hit back pass, allowed Clarke the chance to double the lead in the 71st minute, after which there was no way back for the visitors.

And Adams added a third with three minutes remaining, to complete the U’s misery.

CRAWLEY: P Jones, Hunt, Connolly, Walsh, Sadler, Adams, Akpan, Simpson, M Jones (sub Byrne, 84), Alexander (sub Smith, 90+1), Clarke (sub Bulman, 88). Unused subs: Kuipers, Torres, Ajose, Cooper.

COLCHESTER: Cousins, Wilson, Okuonghae, Heath, Potts, Bean, Izzet (sub Porter, 73), Wordsworth, Massey (sub Compton, 68), Morrison, Wright. Unused subs: Pentney, Rose, Sears, Bond, Gilbey.

Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire)

Attendance: 3,160

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