Colchester United 3 Crawley Town 1: Carl Marston's Final Verdict
PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 September 2017 | UPDATED: 07:49 11 September 2017
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Colchester United, at home, are unrecognisable from the Colchester United who stumble from one defeat to the next on the road.
There was so much to enthuse over, following Saturday’s heart-warming 3-1 home success over Harry Kewell’s Crawley Town.
The U’s took their chances, in the first half, and then soaked up some pressure in the second to boost their points tally to seven from six fixtures – all seven have been gathered on home territory.
And all this was achieved despite an ever-lengthening injury crisis.
In addition to long-term victims Brennan Dickenson, Kurtis Guthrie, Luke Prosser, Craig Slater and Doug Loft, the influential Kyel Reid remained absent with a hip flexor injury and Sean Murray failed to feature due to a hip problem.
Youngsters Tariq Issa and Courtney Senior are also regulars in the treatment room at the moment, after their respective cameo appearances this season.
But the U’s, thanks to a productive transfer deadline day on August 31, when five new players were recruited, do have strength in depth.
They certainly had more than enough to cope with a Crawley side who had won their last two league matches, even though the Red Devils were their bogey team – the U’s had never beaten them, in nine previous meetings.
That all changed on Saturday, thanks to a one-sided first half.
Livewire Sammie Szmodics broke the deadlock with his fourth goal of the season, on nine minutes. The excellent Ryan Jackson provided the cross, and Szmodics’ superb volley flew into the net via the inside of a post.
It was a lethal finish by Szmodics, and he returned the favour by setting up team-mate Jackson for the U’s second just five minutes later.
The onrushing Szmodics laid the ball into the path of Jackson, who connected sweetly with a shot that flew like a bullet past keeper Glenn Morris. It was Jackson’s first goal for the U’s.
Mikael Mandron ensured that the U’s went into the break at 3-0 up. Mandron headed home from point blank range, to celebrate his second goal for the Essex club, after Frankie Kent had headed Brandon Comley’s cross into the six-yard box.
It was all-change in the second half, in terms of momentum, although Crawley never got themselves into a position to threaten a full recovery.
Sam Walker saved Mark Randall’s penalty, early in the 52nd minute, but could not prevent Jimmy Smith from stabbing in a 65th minute corner.
But, buoyed by Walker’s wonder save to deny Smith a second on 76 minutes, the U’s held on to record their second win of the season.