Colchester United suffer Trophy defeat in Sussex
Crawley Town 1 Colchester United 0
Colchester United lost their opening group match in this season’s new-look Checkatrade Trophy, going down to James Collins’ powerful header at Crawley Town tonight.
Winger Jason Benton delivered a pinpoint cross from the left flank, and striker Collins directed a firm header into the far corner of the net.
Crawley’s winner arrived in the 34th minute, leaving the U’s with work to do if they are to eventually qualify for the knock-out stages of this competition.
John McGreal’s men will entertain Southampton’s Academy set-up next month, before ending their group campaign with another home match, against Charlton in November.
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The U’s did not create anything of note until the 17th minute. Macauley Bonne, operating in a central role just behind front-man Denny Johnstone, cracked in a 20-yarder which soared only a foot over the bar.
Otherwise, Crawley were having more joy as an attacking force.
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They had already hit the woodwork, with Collins’ angled shot cannoning back off the inside of the near post in the 19th minute, before Collins broke the deadlock with his delightful header.
The U’s came on stronger in the second half, and keeper Mitchell Beeney had to be at his best to divert Johnstone’s goal-bound shot over his bar.
Tom Eastman also had a close-range shot deflected wide, from an 87th minute corner.
The match was notable for an 11-minute spell in the second half, when the U’s had two brothers on the pitch at the same time – Drey Wright, and his younger brother Diaz Wright (on as a 62nd minute substitute for his senior debut).
CRAWLEY: Beeney, Young, Davey, Connolly, Arthur, Bawling, Yorwerth, Tajabkhsh, Banton (sub Clifford, 70), Yussuf (sub Blackman, 75), Collins (sub Boldewijn, 67). Unused subs: Morris, McNerney, Pappoe.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Vincent-Young, Wynter, Eastman, Kinsella, Lapslie (sub Diaz Wright, 62), Szmodics (sub Peter, 63), Drey Wright (sub Dickenson, 74), Bonne, Sembie-Ferris, Johnstone. Unused subs: Barnes, Brindley, Porter, James.
Referee: Tim Robinson (West Sussex)