Colchester United deservedly enjoy a win by the seaside
Blackpool 0 Colchester United 1
Colchester United kept their hopes alive, of masterminding an unlikely escape from relegation, by deservedly winning at fellow strugglers Blackpool this afternoon.
The U’s had begun the day 10 points adrift of safety, and 10 points behind fifth-from-bottom Blackpool, but they cut that gap to the Seasiders down to seven points, thanks to Chris Porter’s 60th minute winner.
The U’s squandered a flurry of first-half chances, many of them falling to Porter and Elliot Lee, while Gavin Massey also hit the post inside the first minute of the second period.
But they finally the broke the deadlock on the hour mark, with Porter lashing home an unstoppable shot from 10 yards out.
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That proved to be the only goal of the game, although the U’s should have won by a bigger margin.
They now have five games left, and they might still have to win all five to stay up.
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The U’s registered the game’s first goal-attempt when Owen Garvan, back in the team after missing last weekend’s goalless draw against Millwall with a neck injury, lifted a 25-yard shot over the bar.
The visitors went closer to an opening goal on five minutes. Gavin Massey whipped over a superb cross from the right flank, which Chris Porter was only a whisker away from heading home from point blank range. He dived forwards at full stretch, but could not get the vital touch with an empty goal beckoning.
Blackpool, unbeaten in their previous four games, with three wins and a draw, finally threatened in the 16th minute, ex-Ipswich Town midfielder David Norris side-footing wide from a good position following Hayden White’s low cross.
Five minutes later and Seasiders’ keeper, Colin Doyle, was forced into his first save of the afternoon, blocking Elliot Lee’s low drive before mopping up the rebound at the second attempt.
The U’s were on the attack again, just before the half-hour mark, and Lee was a little unlucky not to score as his shot on the turn, from 15 yards out, was deflected just a foot wide of the far upright off ex-U’s centre-half Tom Aldred’s trailing leg.
Porter peppered the target on 37 minutes, his final low drive skidding narrowly wide of the far post following another good move from the U’s.
The home fans were becoming restless, as half-time approached. There were choruses of boos, as their team continued to be pegged back, and Porter screwed a shot wide of the near post from another good chance in the 41st minute.
At the other end, Blackpool midfielder Danny Philliskirk missed the target from just 10 yards out, which summed up the first-half performance from the hosts, who were booed off at half-time.
Just 30 seconds into the second period and only the woodwork denied the U’s a goal, Massey met Lee’s low cross with a first-time shot that thudded back off the near post. The U’s winger should really have scored.
Blackpool were struggling to clear their lines, at times. George Moncur flashed a shot narrowly off target on 52 minutes, while Porter warmed keeper Doyle’s hands with a rasping shot just four minutes later.
But the goal did finally arrive, on the hour mark, thanks to Porter’s slick finish for his seventh goal of the season.
Porter nearly doubled the U’s lead in the 66th minute, as his first-time shot from Massey’s excellent lay-off flew over the top.
Doyle had to be alert to smother Moncur’s angled drive, down at his near post, in the 69th minute, and shortly afterwards Lee rifled in a shot that flashed across the face of goal.
Blackpool rarely threatened an equaliser, Parish diving to his left to easily smother defender Clark Robertson’s header on 87 minutes.
BLACKPOOL: Doyle, White, Aldred, Robertson, Higham, McAlister, Potts (sub Smith, 77), Philliskirk (sub Osayi-Samuel, 66), Norris, Cullen (sub Redshaw, 66), Blyth. Unused subs: Letheren, Boyce, Paterson, Aimson.
COLCHESTER: Parish, Edwards, Kent, Eastman, Shorey, Garvan, Gilbey (sub Lapslie, 31), Massey, Moncur (sub Ambrose, 85), Lee (sub Brindley, 81), Porter. Unused subs: Barnes, Akinwande, Bonne, Harney.
Referee: Chris Sarginson (Staffs)