Gallery: U's leading the division's big-hitters

BIG hitters Leeds United and Charlton Athletic have both plundered six points out of six, but neither of them are top of League One - that accolade belongs to Colchester United!

Carl Marston

BIG hitters Leeds United and Charlton Athletic have both plundered six points out of six, but neither of them are top of League One - that accolade belongs to Colchester United!

Paul Lambert's men sit proudly in top spot, thanks to another impressive league display against a very ordinary looking Yeovil Town on Saturday.

They may not have rattled up seven goals, like they achieved in the opening day 7-1 rout of Norwich City, but they were far too strong for the Glovers, despite a nervous last few minutes.


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Early goals from David Fox and Ashley Vincent, inside the first 20 minutes, put the U's on track for a vital home win, not least because it was an awful home record that cost them so dear last season.

The home hoodoo, that featured just seven wins from 24 games at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, had threatened to spill over into this campaign following Tuesday night's Carling Cup defeat at the hand of Leyton Orient.

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That's why Saturday's narrow win was so important. A controversial free-kick, converted by Yeovil midfielder Ryan Mason on 82 minutes, briefly threatened the U's 100% league record, but it would have been a massive injustice if the visitors had snatched a point from this one-sided contest.

At the start of the season, I predicted that Leeds and Charlton would finish in the top two, and they are already looking strong promotion candidates.

But at the moment, they cannot compete with the U's terrific goal difference. And the message from United is clear - catch us if you can!

Of course it's still very early days, but the expectations have already been raised amongst Colchester fans. They are blessed with a team who have attacking flair, and hopefully home attendances (just 4,263 on Saturday), will improve as word gets around that the Essex club mean business this season.

Summer signing Fox and skipper Dean Hammond have already developed a terrific understanding in central midfield, and flying wingers Vincent and Simon Hackney have been in blistering form both at Norwich and against Yeovil.

You could certainly have made a case for any of these four to be named man-of-the-match. Hammond bossed the game, Hackney delivered a succession of quality crosses, and on another day a bustling Vincent could have bagged a hat-trick.

But it was difficult to look beyond the performance of Fox. The midfield maestro set the ball rolling with a ninth minute opener, and his accurate passing kept the U's on the front foot for all bar the final few minutes of the game.

Just like at Carrow Road seven days earlier, United were quick to gain the ascendancy. In fact, for a while it looked as though there would have been another goal-glut, such was their dominance.

Fox's second goal of the season soon settled the home nerves. A positive-thinking Vincent ran onto Hackney's pass to charge into the penalty area, and although a block-tackle prevented the winger from registering a shot, the awaiting Fox buried the rebound with a sweetly-struck volley from 15 yards out.

That was Colchester's first goal attempt, and they scored with their second as well, courtesy of Vincent's first of the season on 18 minutes.

Kevin Lisbie, who himself did not have much joy in front of goal, played a big part in the build-up. The Ipswich loanee controlled Hammond's pass on the left wing and advanced to the edge of the box, before changing direction to feed Hackney.

And out-and-out winger Hackney curled over a marvellous cross for Vincent to nod into an empty net from seven yards out.

The only surprise was that the U's did not score again. Vincent warmed keeper Alex McCarthy's hands with a couple of stinging shots, while Lisbie peppered the target several times. He also squandered a one-on-one situation with McCarthy in the 55th minute, losing control of the ball at the key moment.

Yeovil netted out-of-the-blue with eight minutes remaining, although Hammond's challenge on striker Sam Williams, the former U's loanee, did not look worthy of a free-kick. Mason beat home debutant Ben Williams from 25 yards out.

Lambert was forced to watch the dying minutes of the match from the main-stand, after being banished from the dug-out area for his angry reaction to a foul on Scott Vernon that should have yielded a penalty.

But the Scotsman won't mind spending the odd few minutes in exile this season, if his side keep winning.

Next stop Gillingham at home tomorrow.

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