Colchester United 5 Forest Green Rovers 1, match report: U’s roar to first win of the season

Frankie Kent scores with a header during the 5-1 home win over Forest Green Rovers from earlier this

Frankie Kent scores with a header during the 5-1 home win over Forest Green Rovers from earlier this season. Picture: PAGEPIX - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Colchester United 5 Forest Green Rovers 1

Colchester United celebrated their first victory of the season, and they richly deserved this home success over Football League new boys Forest Green Rovers this afternoon.

The U’s had failed to win any of their first four league and cup matches, but they were always in the box seat, and could (believe it or not) have won by an even bigger margin.

Kyel Reid and Frankie Kent both scored inside the first 21 minutes, only for Liam Noble to halve the deficit with a rare Rovers’ attack in the 23rd minute.

But second-half goals by Sammie Szmodics, Kane Vincent-Young and Courtney Senior wrapped up that first win, to make it four points accrued from a possible 12 in League Two.

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It was the perfect start, with the U’s wingers combining to secure a lead on four minutes.

Drey Wright powered down the right wing and whipped over a low cross into the danger zone. Szmodics connected with a first-time shot which was deflected into the path of the onrushing Reid, who drilled into the net from 10 yards out.

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Winger Reid was clearly buoyed by this early goal, and he fancied his chances from a 30-yard free-kick on 11 minutes, although his curling shot was safely gathered by keeper Collins, down on his haunches.

Forest Green were very sloppy in their approach, during the early stages, with several misplaced passes, and the U’s continued to enjoy considerable joy down the wings.

That was especially the case on the right, from where Sean Murray’s deep cross on 16 minutes was hastily cleared by Rovers debutant Mark Roberts.

The U’s had appeals for a penalty turned down in the 19th minute. Another great run by Wright caused mayhem, and Mikael Mandron appeared to be impeded as he prepared to shoot.

But the home side were celebrating a second goal just two minutes later.

Reid floated over a delightful cross to the far post, where centre-half Kent climbed high to send a towering header into the roof of the net.

However, Forest Green responded almost immediately, Noble tucking home a low shot from the edge of the box into the bottom corner of the net.

Caught by that bolt out of the blue, the U’s were close to restoring their two-goal advantage in the 26th minute. Star man Wright teed up Szmodics, but the U’s attacking midfielder ballooned his shot high and wide with just keeper Collins to beat.

Szmodics had another chance in the 33rd minute, this time from Reid’s free-kick which rebounded to him in the box. His goal-bound shot was deflected wide for a corner.

And Szmodics went close again with his third opportunity of the first half, on 37 minutes. He clipped the ball beyond the defender, with a neat piece of skill, but fired inches wide of the near post.

Seconds later and Rovers, despite being second best in this first half, nearly stole an equaliser, only for Sam Walker to block at the feet of striker Christian Doidge.

At the other end, only a superb acrobatic save from keeper Collins denied Reid a second goal. His long-range snap shot was clawed away by Collins, at full stretch.

Into the second half and only the woodwork denied the U’s a third goal, on 47 minutes. Lewis Kinsella’s long-range shot was defected off Roberts and struck the underside of the bar, before rolling to safety.

A minute later and Wright miscued a great chance wide, from close-in.

But the U’s did grab the all-important third goal, in the 64th minute.

Substitute Tariq Issa fired in a low cross, and although Szmodics’ first shot was blocked on the goal-line, he hammered home the rebound in emphatic fashion.

Vincent-Young wrapped up the points by bursting through the middle and slotting home an accurate low shot into the bottom corner, on 74 minutes.

There was still time for debutant Senior to sweep home an injury-time fifth, after Tommy O’Sullivan’s shot had been half charged down.


COLCHESTER UNITED: Walker, Vincent-Young, Eastman, Kent, Kinsella, Reid (sub Issa, 63), Murray, Lapslie, Szmodics (sub O’Sullivan, 82) Wright (sub Senior, 87), Mandron. Unused subs: Gilmartin, Kpekawa, James, McKeown.

FOREST GREEN ROVERS: B Collins, Bennett, L Collins, Roberts, Iacovitti, Laird, Noble (sub Mullins, 75), Cooper, Brown (sub Traore, 46), James (sub Bugiel, 63), Doidge. Unused subs: Russell, Monthe, Wishart, Evans.

Referee: C Hicks

Attendance: 3,042 (152 away)

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