Colchester United 2 Mansfield Town 0: Carl Marston’s final verdict
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
This was a superb, all-round performance from much-improved Colchester United.
After a sticky start to the season, the U’s are running into a rich vein of form, having now taken seven points from a possible nine in their last three league matches.
Fresh from good displays on the road at Grimsby (2-2 draw) and Yeovil (1-0 win), the U’s cashed in on their home advantage against a Mansfield side tipped by many for promotion.
Stags boss Steve Evans assembled a new-look squad over the summer, packed with experience, but they were second best on Saturday. They could have no complaints with the result.
First-half goals by Sean Murray and Mikael Mandron did the damage, while at the other end Sam Walker, aided by a water-tight defence, celebrated a second clean-sheet of the season, following the shut-out at Yeovil the previous weekend.
Fresh from scoring the only goal of the game at Huish Park, Murray bagged the opener in the 29th minute.
Kyel Reid took a free-kick short to Murray, and the ex-Swindon midfielder directed a low, measured 20-yard shot through a crowded penalty area into the far corner of the net, deceiving keeper Conrad Logan.
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Five minutes later and the U’s doubled their lead, with Murray turning creator, to confirm their superiority. It was a superb precision cross by Murray, from the left flank, which enabled target man Mandron to climb high and head powerfully into the roof of the net.
It was a deadly finish by Mandron, to chalk up his third goal of the season.
Mansfield had beaten league leaders 3-1 Notts County the previous Saturday, but they had no response at the Community Stadium.
The U’s could afford to miss good early chances, with Mandron the culprit inside the first minute when blasting over the top from close range, and strike-force partner Brandon Hanlan drilling a shot across and goal wide.
Mansfield huffed and puffed, and they almost halved the deficit in the 53rd minute, leading scorer Danny Rose glancing a header inches wide of the far post.
But the U’s finished the stronger. Murray was denied on a one-on-one situation by keeper Logan in the 76th minute, and he then sliced wide from an excellent position with four minutes remaining.
But no matter, The U’s are up to 15th and going in the right direction.