U’s derailed by Crewe
Colchester United 1 Crewe Alexandra 2
COLCHESTER United’s bid to pull away from the relegation zone was dented by a disappointing home defeat, at the hands of Crewe Alexandra this afternoon.
The U’s fell behind to Luke Murphy’s 25th minute penalty, following handball by Josh Thompson.
George Porter equalised with a quality finish on 42 minutes, his first goal in a Colchester shirt, but Mathias Pogba tucked home a 72nd minute winner for the visitors.
The U’s were without the suspended Jabo Ibehre, plus fellow attacker Freddie Sears and left-back Bradley Garmston, both due to knee injuries.
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New recruits Smith and Troy Hewitt were both named amongst the substitutes.
There was a minute’s applause before kick-off, in memory of former manager Dick Graham, who died on Thursday at the age of 90.
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Crewe dominated the early stages and it was no real surprise when they took the lead on 25 minutes.
Substitute Thompson, who had come on for the injured Tom Eastman after 14 minutes, handled Gregor Robertson’s cross inside the penalty area.
Referee Keith Hill had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, and Murphy sent Sam Walker the wrong way with a crisp penalty.
The U’s struggled to get their game going, but the introduction of new boy Smith, as a substitute for holding midfielder David Wright, made a big and immediate difference.
Suddenly, the home side began to gain the upper hand and have some joy going forward, culminating in Porter’s equaliser just four minutes before half-time.
Porter turned expertly onto striker Smith’s fine pass and beat keeper Steve Phillips all ends up with a ferocious shot from 10 yards out.
The goal was a reward for some good Colchester pressure, which had also seen a header by Magnus Okuonghae cleared off the goal-line by Murphy.
Into the second half and the U’s continued to be on the front foot, with Phillips palming away Thompson’s goal-bound header from Billy Clifford’s 50th minute corner.
Just after the hour mark, Smith spurned a good chance to give the U’s the lead, lifting his shot over the bar from a good position following Porter’s exciting run down the left wing.
However, Dunne’s men could not cash in on their dominance and they fell behind again, to Pogba’s effort on 72 minutes.
The impressive Murphy was allowed to run through the middle and pick out Pogba, whose low shot sneaked past Walker to roll in at the near post.
That proved to be the winner.
COLCHESTER: Walker, Wilson, Okuonghae, Eastman (sub Thompson, 17), White, David Wright (sub Smith, 34), Clifford, Bond, Porter, Morrison (sub Hewitt, 74), Massey. Unused subs: Cousins, Hewitt, Bean Ladapo, Compton.
CREWE: Phillips, Tootle, Davis, Ellis, Robertson, Murphy, Osman, Leitch-Smith, Moore, Clayton (sub Turton, 87), Pogba (sub Dugdale, 90+1). Unused subs: Martin, Mellor, Ray, Colclough, Ellington.
Referee: Mr Keith Hill (Hertfordshire)