Colchester United 3 Crawley Town 1, match report: U's extend their fine home record
PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:22 09 September 2017
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Colchester United 3 Crawley Town 1
Colchester United’s fine form at home continued, with a comfortable victory over Harry Kewell’s Crawley Town this afternoon.
First-half goals by Sammie Szmodics, Ryan Jackson and Mikael Mandron put the U’s in the driving seat.
The West Sussex visitors rallied in the second period, but Jimmy Smith’s 65th minute goal was merely a consolation.
Szmodics broke the deadlock with his fourth goal of the season, on nine minutes.
Ryan Jackson provided the cross, from the right, and Szmodics’ instinctive 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.
Mandron ensured that the U’s went into the break at 3-0 up.
The U’s target man 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.
Sam Walker saved Mark Randall’s penalty, early in the second half, but was powerless to prevent Jimmy Smith from stabbing home a 65th minute corner.
But the U’s held on to record their second win of the season.
McGreal handed full debuts to three players, as he made four changes in all to the side that lost 1-0 at Cambridge last weekend.
Centre-half Ryan Inniss, midfielder Comley and striker Nicke Kabamba were all making their first appearances for the U’s, following their arrivals on transfer deadline day at the end of last month.
And Ryan Jackson was also back in the starting line-up, with Kyel Reid out injured due to a hip flexor problem.
But it was one of the U’s more established players, midfielder Szmodics, who handed the hosts a perfect start by volleying home an opening goal in the ninth minute.
Szmodics then set up Jackson, and the wing-back obliged by smashing home a glorious rising shot into the roof of the net from the right-edge of the penalty area.
That made it 2-0 after just 14 minutes.
The home side continued to dominate, and Szmodics was close to bagging his second of the afternoon in the 18th minute. However, his control let him down from Mikael Mandron’s fine through ball.
Crawley did not really threaten until just after the half-hour mark, when striker Mandron was back defending. He hooked away Mark Randall’s dangerous free-kick from inside the six-yard box.
At the other end, Szmodics spurned a chance to out the U’s 3-0 up in the 35th minute. The ball broke to him on the edge of the box, from Kabamba’s determined run, but he curled his shot narrowly over the top.
But three minutes later and the U’s did move 3-0 ahead, thanks to Mandron’s point-blank range header.
Some excellent last ditch defending preserved the U’s three-goal advantage in the 42nd minute. Panutche Camara’s half-hit effort looked like creeping over the goal-line, only for a combination of new boy Inniss and Tom Eastman to clear the danger.
Into the second half and a towering header by Inniss, from a 47th minute corner, was cleared off the goal-line.
Seconds later and debutants Kabamba and Comley both had shots blocked, with Comley’s follow-up being saved by Morris.
Walker obliged with two terrific saves to keep the U’s 3-0 up.
Firstly, Walker diverted away a long-range shot by substitute Dennon Lewis, and then the U’s keeper beat away Mark Randall’s 52nd minute penalty, after Inniss had been adjudged to have fouled Josh Yorwerth in the penalty area.
Just after the hour mark, Crawley keeper Morris performed heroics to beat away Szmodics’ goal-bound drive.
The Red Devils pulled a goal back in the 65th minute with Smith sweeping home a corner from close-in.
Smith was denied a second goal by a superb save from Walker in the 76th minute. The U’s keeper used his legs to charge down the shot.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Eastman, Kent (sub James, 46), Inniss. Jackson, Lapslie, Comley, Kinsella (sub Vincent-Young, 57), Szmodics, Mandron, Kabamba (sub Wright, 70). Unused subs: Gilmartin, Hanman, O’Sullivan, Odelusi.
CRAWLEY: Morris, Evina (sub Meite, 46), Young, Yorwerth, Lelan, Randall (sub Doherty, 64), Cox, Boldewijn, Smith, Bulman, Camara (sub Lewis, 46). Unused subs: Mersin, Djalo, Tajbakhsh, McNerney.
Referee: Graham Horwood (Beds)
Attendance: 2,923 (188 away fans)