Colchester United 1 Cheltenham Town 4, match report: Ten-man U’s capitulate after Kyel Reid’s red card
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Colchester United 1 Cheltenham Town 4
Kurtis Guthrie crowned his long-awaited return to the starting line-up with an opening goal, but 10-man Colchester United eventually slithered to a home defeat at the hands of Cheltenham Town this afternoon.
The turning point was Kyel Reid’s sending-off, just two minutes before half-time, with the U’s 1-0 up.
The Robins struck with four unanswered goals in the second period, ex-Colchester striker Sanmi Odelusi (57), Nigel Atangana (70), Jerell Sellars (74) and Mohamed Eisa (84) all on target.
Cheltenham therefore completed the league double over John McGreal’s men.
Guthrie broke the deadlock with a bolt-out-of-the-blue on the 40-minute mark.
The U’s striker shrugged off the challenge of Joe Morrell before suddenly letting fly from 25 yards out with a shot that surprised keeper Scott Flinders.
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The ball ended up in the back of the net, although Flinders did get a hand to the shot – it was a terrific speculative effort from the U’s front-man.
But the home side suffered a blow when Reid was sent off in the 43rd minute, after Guthrie had initially been fouled by Atangana.
Reid wanted to take the free-kick quickly, but then reacted by appearing to strike out at Robins winger Morrell. He was duly shown the red card, for violent conduct, by referee Scott Oldham.
And Cheltenham equalised just 12 minutes into the second half, substitute Odelusi stabbing the loose ball over the goal-line from point-blank range after Sam Walker had managed to keep out the initial effort from Eisa.
Walker was beaten again as the Robins took the lead in the 70th minute. Atangana was in the right place to steer the ball home from close-in, after winger Sellars’ low delivery had deflected off Tom Eastman.
And Cheltenham wrapped up the points when Sellars smashed home an angled drive from 15 yards out in the 79th minute, to make it 3-1.
There was still time for Eisa to get beyond the U’s back-line to chalk up a fourth goal for the visitors on 84 minutes.
The U’s had made three changes to the side that shared a goalless home draw against Cambridge on New Year’s Day.
Guthrie came in for his first league start for nearly 11 months, following a long-term ankle injury, while there were recalls for Reid and Brandon Comley.
Guthrie actually had the ball in the back of the net inside the first two minutes, but referee Scott Oldham had already blown his whistle for a clear shove by the U’s man on defender Manny Onariase, so the goal did not stand.
At the other end, Cheltenham’s leading scorer, Eisa, blasted a 30-yarder over the bar in the eighth minute.
Robins keeper Flinders was forced into his first save on 12 minutes, blocking Frankie Kent’s low shot from 10 yards out with his legs, following a corner by Reid.
Three minutes later and Ryan Jackson muscled past his opponent down the right wing and delivered a fierce low shot which fizzed across the face of goal and wide, with no team-mate on hand to apply the finishing touch.
Jackson embarked on another attacking run, from Drey Wright’s lay-off in the 23rd minute. This time his 25-yard shot flew wide of the far upright.
Ex-Dereham and Histon target man, Danny Wright, had a sight of goal for the Robins before the half-hour mark, although his header from a corner dropped comfortably into the arms of Walker.
The game then went through a very quiet spell, until Guthrie brought the crowd to life with a stunning goal in the 40th minute, his 25-yarder flying into the net past keeper Flinders.
But the home side were reduced to 10 men in the 43rd minute, after Guthrie was fouled just outside the box.
A melee then ensued with Reid being shown the red card, for retaliation after an off-the-ball incident Morrell. Reid appeared to lash out.
On as a half-time substitute, Odelusi duly equalised against his old club in the 57th minute, bundling the loose ball over the line from close-in.
Ten-man Colchester were holding on at times, and Walker made a fine save to deny Odeulsi a second goal in the 65th minute, before arching back to tip Morrell’s 20-yarder over the bar just two minutes later.
But Walker was picking the ball out of the net for a second time on 70 minutes, Atangana sweeping home from inside the six-yard box, before late goals by Sellars and Eisa sealed the home side’s fate..
COLCHESTER: Walker, Jackson, Eastman, Kent, Vincent-Young (sub Kpewaka, 46), Wright, Comley (sub Loft, 68), Lapslie, Reid, Mandron (sub Hanlan, 74), Guthrie; Unused subs: Gilmartin, Szmodics, Murray, Ogedi-Uzokwe.
CHELTENHAM: Flinders, Moore, Onariase, Grimes, Winchester, Dawson, Atangana, Morrell, Sellars (sub Storer, 90), Wright (sub Odelusi, 46), Eisa (sub Lloyd, 89). Unused subs: Lovett, Boyle, Graham, Bower.
Referee: Scott Oldham (Lancashire)
Attendance: 2,886 (102 away fans)