Ibehre brace propels U’s out of relegation zone
Stevenage 0 Colchester United 2
A BRACE from Jabo Ibehre secured Colchester United a precious victory at Stevenage this afternoon.
Ibehre struck twice in the second period to earn the U’s a deserved second win in four days, following their midweek triumph over Yeovil.
Ibehre’s sixth goal of the season arrived in the 61st minute.
Stevenage wide-man James Dunne fouled George Porter to concede a free-kick, and Billy Clifford’s precise delivery was superbly headed home by Ibehre into the roof of the net.
And Ibehre doubled the lead with his seventh of the campaign just 11 minutes later, steering into an empty net following Gavin Massey’s strong run down the left flank.
It was no more than the Essex side deserved for a superb away display, in which they attacked with purpose and defended solidly.
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U’s boss Joe Dunne, not surprisingly, selected the same team that had so impressively beaten Yeovil 2-0 on Tuesday night.
And his team dominated the first period, without being able to find that elusive first goal.
Sam Walker made one terrific one-handed save to keep out Anthony Grant’s goal-bound shot, but otherwise it was the U’s in the driving seat.
Defender Tom Eastman lifted a close-range shot over the bar from point blank range, after Magnus Okuonghae had headed on Billy Clifford’s 24th minute corner, and Jabo Ibehre nodded narrowly over from another Clifford corner just four minutes later.
Just after the half-hour mark and the visitors were thwarted by two goal-line clearances. A defender blocked George Porter’s initial shot, and the follow-up shot by Ibehre was superbly punched away by keeper Chris Day.
Livewire Freddie Sears also peppered the target, but the U’s could not fashion an opening goal before the break.
It was a far quieter start to the second half, until Ibehre broke the deadlock with a sweet header from Clifford’s 61st minute free-kick.
And Ibehre doubled the lead on 72 minutes, from Massey’s low cross, to put the game beyond the reach of Stevenage.
STEVENAGE: Day, Gray, Charles, Chorley, Roberts, Dunne (sub Freeman, 67), Tansey, Grant, Mahon (sub Shroot, 75), Haber, Akins (sub Beleck, 62). Unused subs: Iro, Comminges, Hoskins, Arnold.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Wilson, Okuonghae, Eastman, Garmston, Clifford, Bond, Porter (sub Thompson, 90+2), Sears (sub Morrison, 71), Massey (sub White, 86), Ibehre. Unused subs: Morrison, David Wright, Compton, Bean, Cousins.
Referee: Scott Duncan