Nouble scores his first goal for Colchester in an East Anglian derby success
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Colchester United 3 Cambridge United 0
Colchester United continued their impressive start to the season, by making it three wins from their first four home games, at the expense of Joe Dunne’s Cambridge United this afternoon.
First-half goals by Sammie Szmodics and Frank Nouble put the Essex hosts in the driving seat.
Szmodics broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute. He latched onto a poke forward by Luke Norris and obliged with a crisp finish past an exposed David Forde.
And it was 2-0 in 35th minute, thanks to summer signing Nouble’s first league goal in a Colchester shirt.
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Nouble burst forward onto a flick by Norris and showed terrific strength to hold off his marker before blasting a shot high into the far corner of the net from a tight angle.
The game was made safe by Courtney Senior, who made the most of a defensive mistake to race through and guide his shot beyond the advancing Forde on 80 minutes.
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Cambridge had their chances, in what was an entertaining East Anglian duel, but Colchester have now lost just one of their first eight games, winning half of them to suggest the are strong promotion candidates this season.
Colchester showed two changes to the side that drew 1-1 at Tranmere last weekend. Centre-half Luke Prosser was back after suspension, while midfielder Brandon Comley went straight back into the team after making his international debut for Montserrat.
The hosts started well. Sammie Szmodics screwed a shot wide on five minutes, and Harry Pell went even closer with a well-struck 20-yarder that was deflected narrowly wide of the far upright.
At the other end, Dillon Barnes dived low to his left to claw away a goal-bound free-kick by George Maris, and there was danger from the ensuing free-kick as Brennan Dickenson superbly cleared off the goal-line from skipper Greg Taylor’s towering header.
But it was the home side who took the lead, thanks to Szmodics’ deadly finish on 23 minutes. It was his third goal of the season.
Cambridge tried to respond quickly and Barnes did well to palm away a dangerous cross, with ex-Colchester striker Jabo Ibehre lurking behind him, ready to divert home.
A quick break nearly led to a second goal for John McGreal’s men, but Harry Pell blasted high and wide from a good position on 27 minutes.
Barnes came to his side’s rescue with a good save in the 34th minute, blocking Ibehre’s goal-bound effort with his legs from point blank range.
And play quickly switched to the other end for Colchester to double their lead, via Nouble’s first goal for the club in the 35th minute.
Despite trailing, Cambridge continued to have chances, and Ibehre should really have scored from David Amoo’s delivery in the 38th minute, only for the big man to completely fluff his lines in front of goal.
Cambridge had opportunities at the start of the second half as well, Taylor having another strong header from a corner blocked inside the six-yard box.
Szmodics felt that he could earned a penalty in the other box, in the 52nd minute, when bursting onto Norris’ excellent flick and going to ground before he could shoot. But referee Lee Swabey was not convinced.
On the hour mark, Nouble brought the home fans to their feet with a powerful run, covering half the length of the pitch before his final shot was deflected behind by Taylor. He failed to get enough power in his shot, from the ensuing corner.
Substitute Senior was close to diverting home Szmodics’ cross-cum-shot on 71 minutes, as the U’s searched for a killer third.
Norris had a superb game for the U’s, and one of his trademark free-kicks, struck from near the touch-line, saw keeper Forde fumble the ball before he scooped up the rebound.
But the hosts did notch their third goal, just 60 seconds later in the 80th minute, through substitute Senior.
COLCHESTER: Barnes, Jackson, Prosser, Kent, Vincent-Young, Pell, Comley, Nouble, Szmodics (sub Collins, 84), Dickenson (sub Senior, 65), Norris (sub Mandron, 86). Unused subs: Ross, Wright, Eastman, Gondoh.
CAMBRIDGE: Forde, Halliday, Taylor, Taft, Carroll, Deegan, Maris, Amoo, Brown, Lambe (sub Corr, 66), Ibehre (sub Azeez, 77). Unused subs: Pilkington, O’Neil, Osadebe, Lewis, John.
Referee: Lee Swabey
Attendance: 4,108 (538 away fans)