Four league wins out of five for U’s boss Joe Dunne
Colchester United 2 Carlisle United 0
FIRST-half goals from Craig Eastmond and Jabo Ibehre sealed Colchester United’s fourth win from five league games under new manager Joe Dunne.
Eastmond chalked up the first goal of his career to hand the U’s a 25th minute lead, and Ibehre doubled the advantage just six minutes later.
There were chances galore for both sides, and the Cumbrians will certainly wonder how they failed to score throughout the afternoon, having won three of their previous four away games.
In particular, they fluffed a trio of free headers in the second half, all from very close range.
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But this result saw the ever-improving U’s leapfrog Carlisle in the League One table.
They will look to continue their impressive run at Leyton Orient on Tuesday evening.
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Carlisle actually dominated the opening 10 minutes, and looked the most likely to break the deadlock.
But the U’s then took charge and keeper Mark Gillespie made smart saves from Anthony Wordsworth, Eastmond and Ibehre in rapid succession, before the floodgates opened.
Eastmond’s 25th minute opener was the result of a slick Colchester move.
It was actually Eastmond who started the attack, with a neat first touch. Fellow loanee Sanchez Watt burst clear and rounded keeper Gillespie.
The angle was very tight, but Watt was still able to square the ball into the six-yard box for Eastmond to plant into an empty net.
Watt also had a key role in the U’s second goal, netted just six minutes later.
Winger Watt whipped over a low cross from the left, and Ibehre was in the perfect place to tuck home with his right foot from four yards out.
It was a deadly finish from the MK Dons loanee, his fourth goal in a U’s shirt.
Both sides also struck the woodwork before the end of the first half.
Carlisle, who could themselves unlucky to be 2-0 down, struck the bar from defender Peter Murphy’s looping header, while Watt’s long range drive grazed the far post for the U’s.
The visitors spurned two great chances to halve the deficit early in the second period, with both Mike Edwards and Danny Higginbotham failing to hit the target with free headers from close-in, having both been left unmarked from free-kicks.
Cousins also did well to claw Peter Murphy’s long-shot over his bar, and James Berrett then failed to convert a free header late on, as Carlisle searched in vain for a way back into the game.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Cousins, Wilson (sub White, 46), Okuonghae, Eastman, Rose, Bean, Eastmond, Wordsworth, Massey, Ibehre (sub Henderson, 85), Watt (sub Sears, 60). Unused subs: Duguid, Gilbey, Hamilton, Pentney.
CARLISLE UNITED: Gillespie, Simek, Murphy, Edwards, Robson, Noble (sub Beck, 80), Berrett, Chantler, Cadamarteri (sub Symington, 58), Garner, Higginbotham (sub Potts,73). Unused subs: Livesey, Welsh, Bugno, Collin.
Referee: Steve Rushton (Staffs)