Colchester United 3 Crewe Alexandra 1, match report: Mikael Mandron bags a brace in U’s home win
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Colchester United 3 Crewe Alexandra 1
Mikael Mandron bagged a brace as Colchester United rallied from a goal-down to beat struggling Crewe Alexandra at the Weston Homes Community Stadium this afternoon.
Crewe edged the first quarter of the game, and Jordan Bowery broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute.
Zoumana Bakayogo and Chris Dagnall combined down the left with the latter crossing low to the far post, where Bowery’s close-range was squeezed under Sam Walker.
The visitors had several other chances to extend their lead, but they were punished for these spurned opportunities when Mandron equalised in the 39th minute.
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Kyel Reid’s corner somehow sneaked through a crowded six-yard box to reach Mandron, who swept home from close range to register his fifth goal of the campaign.
Tom Eastman struck to put the U’s 2-1 up on hour mark, from Brandon Comley’s delivery. The big defender’s first effort, a rising shot, struck the bar, but he was alert enough to convert the rebound from close-in with a deft header.
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And Mandron wrapped up the points by netting his second and the U’s third in the 71st minute. The Frenchman slid in to divert home Ryan Jackson’s fine cross from the right flank.
It was sixth goal of the campaign.
The U’s had showed two changes to the side that shared a goalless draw with Coventry at the Ricoh Arena last weekend.
Sean Murray (injured) and Tom Lapslie (suspended) both missed out, to be replaced by Doug Loft and Reid in the middle of the park.
It was a very subdued start from both sides during the opening 10 minutes, with the exception of Reid screwing a half-volley wide of the near post.
But ex-U’s target man Chris Porter should really have given Crewe the lead in the 14th minute. Porter was clean through on goal, but pulled his shot wide of the far post with keeper Walker quickly off his line to narrow the angle.
Porter was the U’s top marksman last season (16 goals), and is Crewe’s leading scorer with six goals this term, although he had not netted in the previous eight games.
But the visitors did get their noses in front, thanks to Bowery’s fourth goal of the season on 22 minutes.
Crewe almost doubled their advantage in the 32nd minute. Conor Grant broke strongly through the middle and fed left wing-back Bakayogo down the wing. His cross was only a foot over the head of Dagnall, otherwise the striker looked certain to score.
A minute later and the U’s, who had not even threatened keeper Dave Richards, launched a rare attack which ended with Drey Wright slicing a 20-yarder well wide.
Again David Artell’s men should have been celebrating a second goal, this time in the 35th minute. Bakayogo ran uncontested to the left-edge of the box, and found Bowery in space just inside the box. His first shot was blocked, and his second was miscued wide with just Walker to beat.
And Mandron punished the Railwaymen by slotting home a 39th minute equaliser, against the run of play, from Reid’s corner.
Into the second half and Hanlan nearly put the U’s 2-1 up early on. The Charlton loanee ran half the length of the pitch but, under pressure, pulled his shot narrowly wide of the far upright.
Walker kept the scores level with a wonderful save on the hour mark. He managed to claw away Dangall’s goal-bound shot at point blank range.
Mandron drilled a shot into the side-netting, as the U’s tried to take the lead themselves, and Eastman then obliged by heading home at the second attempt after his initial shot had hit the bar, in the 60th minute.
Eleven minutes later and an on-song Mandron gave the U’s a two-goal advantage by sliding home Jackson’s excellent cross.
Substitute Craig Slater was denied by a fine save from keeper Richards in the last minute of normal time. His fierce shot was beaten away.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Eastman, Inniss, Kent, Jackson (sub Kinsella, 86), Comley, Loft (sub Slater, 86), Reid, Wright, Mandron, Hanlan (sub Kabamba, 90+2). Unused subs: Gilmartin, O’Sullivan, Odelusi, James,
CREWE: Richards, Ng, Walker, Nolan, Ainley (sub Cooper, 61), Lowery, Grant, Bakayogo (sub Pickering, 85), Dagnall, Porter, Bowery. Unused subs: Garratt, Kirk, Lundstram, Reilly, Stubbs.
Referee: Kevin Johnson (Somerset)
Attendance: 3,088 (185 away fans)