U’s hit for six in home humiliation by Stevenage

Colchester United 1 Stevenage 6

WOEFUL Colchester United suffered the Boxing Day blues as dominant Stevenage stretched their unbeaten run to 12 games at the Weston Homes Community Stadium this afternoon.

The U’s were simply blown away by the power, strength and guile of Graham Westley’s men.

It was another humiliating defeat, even eclipsing the 5-1 home drubbing suffered at the hands of visiting MK Dons last month.

First-half goals from Robin Shroot and Chris Beardsley put the visitors in charge at the break, and although Ian Henderson pulled a goal back with a 51st minute close-range header, their joy was short-lived.

Four goals in the final half-hour from Michael Bostwick, Scott Laird, Luke Freeman and Joel Byrom completed the rout.

Rampant Stevenage broke the deadlock after just nine minutes, thanks to a strong run by Beardsley and a regulation finish by Shroot.

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Striker Beardsley enjoyed a free run behind the U’s back-line and his low cross was easily steered into an unguarded net by midfielder Shroot. It was his first league goal of the campaign.

The visitors doubled their lead in the 25th minute, via Beardsley’s ninth goal of the season.

His fellow striker Don Cowen set up the chance with a slick turn, and Beardsley’s rather hopeful 25-yard shot squeezed past Williams and into the bottom corner of the net, even though the U’s keeper had got a hand to the ball.

The U’s struggled to get going until manager John Ward changed his formation, from 4-2-1-3 to 4-4-2, after 36 minutes. Henderson joined Kayode Odejayi up front, with John-Joe O’Toole dropping into a more midfield position.

The impact was immediate. Andy Bond rattled the far post with a curling shot, and Bond also forced keeper Chris Day into a smart save from his 25-yarder.

United halved the deficit in the 51st minute. Henderson was in the right place to head home Karl Duguid’s cross from point blank range, following a sweeping move.

The home side had their tails up, but they were trailing by two goals again when Bostwick slammed Stevenage’s third, past an unsighted Williams from long-range in the 64th minute.

And it was all over as a contest as the U’s shipped two more goals in quick succession.

Caught out by a quickly-taken free-kick, the U’s defence was left flat-footed as an unmarked Laird slotted home the fourth on 71 minutes.

Three minutes later and there was more misery. This time substitute Freeman enjoyed enough freedom inside the box to drill home a 10-yard shot past an exposed Williams.

Still the U’s woes were not over. Midfielder Byrom crashed home Stevenage’s sixth in the 83rd minute to make it six different goalscorers for the Hertfordshire club.

It was a horrible afternoon for U’s home fans to have to endure, certainly enough to spoil their Christmas!

Squads

COLCHESTER UNITED: Williams, B Wilson, Okuonghae, Heath, Rose (sub Coker, 80), James, O’Toole (sub Gillespie, 72), Bond, Duguid, Odejayi, Henderson. Unused subs: Izzet, Eastman, White.

STEVENAGE: Day, Henry, Ashton, Roberts, Laird, L Wilson, Bostwick, Shroot (sub Freeman, 57), Byrom, Cowen (sub Edwards, 57), Beardsley (sub Harrison, 74). Unused subs: Julian, Aneke.

Referee: Fred Graham (Essex)

Attendance: 5,276

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