Irrestible U’s celebrate Dunne’s first game with first win
Colchester United 3 Hartlepool United 1
COLCHESTER United celebrated new manager Joe Dunne’s first match in charge with a welcome first win of the season.
Despite falling behind to Craig Lynch’s fifth minute opener, the U’s came storming back with some refreshing attack-minded play to secure a deserved victory.
All of Dunne’s three new loan signings – Jabo Ibehre, Sanchez Watt and Craig Eastmond – were very influential.
Ibehre, on loan from MK Dons, marked his debut with a brace of goals, after Gavin Massey had initially equalised for the hosts on 39 minutes.
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All in all, this was a very impressive display from the hosts – it ended their club record winless start to a season (eight league games).
The U’s, after a bright opening few minutes, fell behind to Lynch’s fifth minute strike.
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Debutant Eastmond gave away possession, and winger Lynch, on loan from Sunderland, beat keeper Mark Cousins with a slick finish into the far corner of the net.
Pools almost doubled their lead on 12 minutes, but target man Steve Howard’s intelligent lob dipped just over the bar and onto the top of the net.
Just before the half-hour mark, Michael Rose made a goal-line clearance to prevent Pools from adding that all-important second, via centre-half Sam Collins’ goal-bound header from six yards out.
The U’s came close to an equaliser in the 32nd minute. Rose delivered a cross and Anthony Wordsworth, at full stretch, stabbed goalwards with keeper Scott Flinders diverting over his bar.
However, the U’s did strike twice just before the break.
Massey equalised in the 39th minute, and four minutes later Ibehre swept the U’s ahead.
Massey’s first goal for the club was well worked. The ex-Watford winger burst onto Watt’s precision pass through the middle, scampering clear before steering his shot beyond the advancing Flinders.
Ibehre’s goal was an equally lethal finish. Defender Peter Hartley completely missed his attempted backward header, and Ibehre made him pay.
The big man shrugged off one challenge before guiding his shot beyond an exposed Flinders from 10 yards out.
Nursing a 2-1 lead at half-time, the U’s completely dominated the second period.
Flinders made outstanding saves from Ibehre, Marcus Bean and Rose, but he was powerless to prevent Ibehre from controlling Rose’s cross, and then sweeping into an empty net for his second, and the U’s third, on 62 minutes.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Cousins, Wilson, Okuonghae, Eastman, Rose, Bean, Eastmond, Wordsworth, Massey (sub Massey, 82), Watt (sub Henderson, 82), Ibehre (sub Izzet, 90+2). Unused subs: Pentney, Morrison, White, Duguid
HARTLEPOOL UNITED: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Baldwin, Horwood, Hartley, Sweeney, Murray (sub Poole, 68), Lynch (sub Monkhouse, 56), Franks, Howard. Unused subs: Humphreys, Richards, Holden, McHugh, James.
Referee: Mick Russell (Herts)