U’s win at Crawley to reach quarter-finals of the League Cup
- Credit: PA
Crawley Town 1 Colchester United 3
Colchester United have reached the quarter-finals of the League Cup, for the first time since the 1974-75 season, thanks to a fourth round 3-1 success at Crawley Town tonight.
The U's rallied from a goal-down to taste victory at the Broadfield Stadium in this Carabao Cup tie, and so successfully follow-up their terrific penalty shoot-out wins over the Premier League duo of Crystal Palace and Tottenham in the previous two rounds.
A clinical header by Luke Norris levelled for the U's in the 22nd minute, just two minutes after Dannie Bulman had crashed home a spectacular opener for the Sussex hosts.
And John McGreal's men went on to win the tie, thanks to Cohen Bramall's superb 59th minute free-kick, which cannoned off the underside of the bar and ricocheted in off keeper Michael Luyambula for an own goal.
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Luke Gambin added a quality third in the 79th minute to wrap up victory, arrowing a shot into the top corner of the net from fellow substitute Callum Harriott's cross..
It is 45 years since the U's previously reached the quarter-finals, when their run was finally ended by a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa.
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That was the only time the Essex club had made the last eight, before tonight.
Chances were limited inside the first 20 minutes, although Frank Nouble had a shot blocked on the quarter-hour mark.
Crawley took the lead via Bulman's stunning right-footed shot, from Tarryn Allarakhia's lay-off, in the 20th minute. Bulman's long-range effort was a real pearler, and gave Dean Gerken little chance.
But the U's were level just two minutes later, thanks to an accurate header from Norris, who guided home Nouble's cross from close range.
Only the woodwork denied the U's taking the lead in the 28th minute, as Norris' sliced shot ballooned over keeper Luyambula, but struck the bar from a central position, having again been set up by Nouble, this time from a header.
The visitors finished the first half on top, and left-back Bramall saw his shot saved by Luyambula in the 39th minute.
However, Bramall did play a major role in the U's taking the lead, nine minutes into the second half.
Bramall's superb 25-yard free-kick struck the underside of the bar and struck the back of keeper Luyambula before flying into the net, for an own goal.
A delighted Bramall celebrated on his knees in front of the U's fans, who were behind the goal.
Courtney Senior spurned a chance to increase the U's lead when scooping a shot over the bar from a good position in the 63rd minute, but Gambin ensured there would be no nervous finale when he netted a fine third, with 11 minutes remaining.
CRAWLEY: Luyambula, Sesay (sub Young, 67), Tunnicliffe, Dallison-Lisbon, Doherty, Allarakhia (sub Nadesan, 82), Bulman, Ferguson, Lubala, Grego-Cox, Enigbokan-Bloomfield (sub Palmer, 55). Unused subs: Morris, Nathaniel-George, Sendles-White.
COLCHESTER: Gerken, Jackson, Eastman, Prosser, Bramall, Stevenson, Comley, Senior (sub Lapslie, 83), Poku (sub Gambin, 74), Nouble, Norris (sub Harriott, 61). Unused subs: Ross, Lapslie, Sowunmi, Brown, Clampin.