Colchester United back on track after three quickfire goals at Railwaymen
Crewe Alexandra 0 Colchester United 3
Three goals in 10 second-half minutes enabled Colchester United to chalk up only their second win of the season, at basement dwellers Crewe Alexandra this afternoon.
After a fairly full first period, the U’s took a stranglehold of the game thanks to quickfire goals from leading scorer Freddie Sears, debutant Rhys Healey and winger Sanchez Watt.
Sears came up trumps in the 57th minute, with his fifth goal of the season.
Watt’s low cross eluded a couple of Crewe defenders, allowing Sears to control before burying a low shot from eight yards out into the bottom corner of the net.
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Six minutes later and the U’s were 2-0 up.
Substitute Healey, who had only been on the pitch for nine minutes, scampered onto Gavin Massey’s through ball and beat keeper Ben Garratt with a clinical low drive.
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Crewe were shell-shocked, and the U’s increased their lead to 3-0 just four minutes later to kill off the game.
Sears caused the damage down the right edge of the penalty area, and his low cross appeared to be bundled over the line by Watt, with Crewe defenders unable to keep it out.
U’s boss Humes had named an unchanged side from last weekend’s goalless draw at home to Bradford, although there were changes on the bench.
New loan signing Healey, recruited from Cardiff, and Academy product Dion Sembie-Ferris were both named amongst the substitutes for the first time.
United created the first chance of the afternoon, when Watt was felled on the left-edge of the penalty area. George Moncur’s ensuing free-kick was finger-tipped over the bar by keeper Ben Garratt.
Otherwise, there was precious little goal-mouth action during the first quarter of the game, with both sides looking a little nervous, understandable considering their lowly positions in the league.
A fine through ball by Gavin Massey sent Sean Clohessy racing down the right wing on 22 minutes.
Skipper Clohessy whipped over a low cross into the danger-zone where Swansea loanee Alan Tate, on his Crewe debut, diverted behind for a corner, the ball flying just a foot wide of the near post.
From that corner, Tom Eastman, celebrating his 100th league start in a Colchester shirt, headed goalwards from distance, although it was an easy catch for keeper Garratt.
At the other end, a slip by Frankie Kent gave Anthony Grant a sight of goal, but the midfielder blazed his shot high and wide.
On the half-hour mark, an attempted cross by Clohessy took a wicked defection which wrong-footed keeper Garrett, but the ball flew narrowly over the bar.
Ten minutes later and Sears tried to make room for himself in the box, following Ben Gordon’s low cross. He had two shots, the first of which was blocked by a defender, and the second deflected over the bar.
Crewe came the closest to breaking the deadlock before the break. Billy Waters was able to round keeper Sam Walker before cutting back inside, but his final shot was hacked off the goal-line by Gordon.
The Railwaymen began the second half showing far more urgency, and they were very unlucky not to take lead on 48 minutes.
Greg Leigh’s close-range header, from Waters’ cross, beat Sam Walker but struck the near post and rebounded back into play, allowing the U’s keeper to catch the loose ball.
A minute later and Walker had to dive smartly to his right to smother a ferocious volley from Anthony Grant, as Crewe stepped up their search for an opening goal.
Healey appeared as a 54th minute substitute, to increase the U’s attacking options, and just three minutes later the visitors were celebrating a goal, thanks to Sears’ smart finish.
Sears’ 57th minute goal was the turning point. Healey added the second on 63 minutes, and Watt the third on 67 minutes, to seal a big win for the U’s.
CREWE: Garratt, Tootle, Ray, Tate, Guthrie, Turton, Grant, Ness (sub Oliver, 76) Leigh, Waters, Haber (sub Cooper, 83). Unused subs: Shearer, Dugdale, Atkinson, Inman, Nolan.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Clohessy, Kent, Eastman, Gordon, Eastmond (sub Healey 54), Moncur (sub David Wright, 88), Gilbey, Massey, Sears (sub Drey Wright, 77), Watt. Unused subs: Lewington, Lawrence, Vose, Sembie-Ferris.
Referee: P Tierney
Attendance: 3,909 (177 away fans)