Szmodics on target as U’s sink Swindon
- Credit: Pagepix Ltd
Colchester United 1 Swindon Town 0
Sammie Szmodics tucked home his sixth goal of the season, in the fifth minute of injury-time at the end of the first half, to defeat Swindon Town in a tight encounter at the Jobserve Community Stadium.
Leading scorer Luke Norris had been stretched off with a serious-looking leg injury, towards the end of the first half, but the U’s disappointment turned to joy when Szmodics steered them into the lead, in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Szomdics was in the right place to calmly slot home into an unguarded net, from 10 yards out, following an excellent low delivery by Frank Nouble.
The U’s therefore chalked up their seventh victory in nine home league games, an impressive record which is the best in League Two.
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However, Norris’ injury (perhaps an ankle problem) gives cause for concern, looking to the future.
There were some slick Colchester moves, during the opening 20 minutes, but there were no clear-cut chances at either end.
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Robins keeper Lawrence Vigouroux reached high up to catch a couple of swirling crosses from Ryan Jackson, while Rene Gilmartin did spill a free-kick by Matt Taylor on 23 minutes, only to recover and scoop up the loose ball.
It was the U’s who finally registered the first goal attempt, as late as the 25th minute when Norris nodded narrowly wide from a free-kick.
They also threatened from the ensuing corner, where Szmodics’ cross-cum-shot from a tight angle was smothered by Vigouroux.
Swindon posted their own first shot-on-target, just before the half-hour mark, with winger Jermaine McGlashan rifling in a low drive which the U’s 31-year-old keeper caught with ease.
The U’s had appeals for a penalty turned down in the 32nd minute when Nouble’s cross from the left appeared to strike a defender’s hand inside the box. Referee Dean Whitestone waved play on.
Harry Pell flashed a header wide from Courtney Senior’s delivery on 42 minutes, but the two big moments of the first half happened right near the end.
Norris, injured in a challenge just a minute before, went down following another rather innocuous looking challenge, on the edge of Swindon’s box, in the 45th minute.
After several minutes of treatment on the pitch, Norris was stretchered off, receiving warm applause from both sets of fans.
Then in the fifth minute of injury-time, the U’s anguish turned to delight as Szmodics steered home Nouble’s cross for the opening goal.
Swindon boss, Phil Brown, made all three of his substitutions inside the first 18 minutes of the second period, in an effort to shake it up, but the U’s had looked more likely to add to their tally.
A 30-yarder by Pell screamed only a foot wide of target in the 56th minute, while Szmodics was sensing a second goal when his back-heel was blocked from close-in, following Jackson’s cross.
Jackson himself tried his luck with a long-range rocket that was beaten away by keeper Vigouroux on 67 minutes.
A rare Swindon attack almost led to an equaliser in the 73rd minute as midfielder Martin Smith burst into the box, exchanged a one-two and the cracked in a shot which Gilmartin kept out with an outstretched hand. That was an excellent save.
But the Robins should really have drawn level, just a minute later, only for substitute Keshi Anderson to drag his shot wide of target with an empty goal in front of him.
At the other end, Nouble and Tom Lapslie both came close to squeezing home from close range, in the 81st minute, as the U’s searched for a killer second.
COLCHESTER: Gilmartin, Jackson, Prosser, Kent, Vincent-Young, Pell, Lapslie, Senior (sub Comley, 77), Szmodics (sub Mandron, 89), Nouble, Norris. Unused subs: Barnes, Wright, Eastman, Collins.
SWINDON: Vigouroux, Knoyle, Nelson, Lancashire (sub Conroy, 57), Romanski (sub Anderson, 63), McGlashan, McCourt (sub Alzate, 58), Smith, Dunne, Taylor, Adebayo. Unused subs: McCormick, Iandolo, Woolfenden.
Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northants)
Attendance: 3,227 (314 away fans)