Stevenage 0 Colchester United 1: Mikael Mandron nets winner to end U’s poor run
Stevenage 0 Colchester United 1
Mikael Mandron netted his 10th goal of the season to secure Colchester United a first away win of 2018, at lower mid-table Stevenage this afternoon.
Mandron connected sweetly with a first-time shot from Kane Vincent-Young’s cross, the ball flying into the net from 12 yards out to put the U’s 1-0 up in the 27th minute.
It was no more than the U’s deserved, in a game which they dominated.
Boro rarely threatened an equaliser, so John McGreal’s men finally ended their lean spell – it was their first victory in six matches.
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The U’s made one change to the side that shared a goalless draw with Morecambe on Tuesday night, Ben Stevenson replacing Brandon Comley in central midfield.
They started brightly, and leading scorer Sammie Szmodics sliced a shot wide inside the first minute.
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But otherwise both sides struggled, on a heavy pitch, during the opening quarter-of-an-hour with neither keeper called into action.
A period of scrappy play ended with a half-chance for the U’s, although Brennan Dickenson’s soft header from Lapslie’s intended shot was easily gathered by home keeper Tom King, the former Braintree Town custodian, on 20 minutes.
However, seven minutes later and King had little chance to prevent Mandron from sweeping the U’s into a 1-0 lead.
Mandron started the move, spraying the ball out to Vincent-Young on the left flank, and the Frenchman then advanced into the penalty area to tuck home the ensuing cross with a first-time shot from 12 yards out.
Stevenage had the ball in the back of the net themselves on the half-hour mark, but Jonathan Smith’s effort was ruled out for a clear offside against the man who crossed it, Alex Revell.
At the other end, Mandron’s close-range shot was squeezed into the side-netting, from Dickenson’s cross to the near post on 32 minutes.
Szmodics was close to adding a second goal for the visitors on 37 minutes, but his low shot rolled narrowly wide of the far upright, while King saved well from Mandron’s downward header.
Into the second half and an early break saw Szmodics cross into the danger zone, and defender Ronnie Henry hastily clear behind for a corner.
A rare Stevenage chance ended with striker Revell firing narrowly over the top from distance in the 50th minute.
Boro’ otherwise rarely threatened, and it was the U’s on the attack again on 72 minutes, Szmodics scuffing a shot wide after Luke Prosser had headed down Tom Lapslie’s cross.
Substitute Luke Amos did at least cause a stir with a 20-yard volley which flew wide of Walker’s goal in the 74th minute.
STEVENAGE: T King, Henry, Wilkinson, J King, Martin, Goddard (sub Amos, 46), Smith (sub White, 76), McKee, Whelpdale (sub Conlon, 60), Revell, Newton. Unused subs: Fryer, Franks, Sheaf, Vancooten.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Walker, Jackson, Eastman, Prosser, Vincent-Young, Lapslie, Wright (sub Murray, 72), Stevenson (sub Comley, 84), Szmodics, Dickenson (sub Mandeville, 88), Mandron. Unused subs: Barnes, Kent, Senior, Ogedi-Uzowke.
Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancs)