U’s plunder four goals in last half-hour
Crewe Alexandra 1 Colchester United 4
COLCHESTER United rallied from a goal down to overcome 10-man Crewe Alexandra, and so advance into the second round of the FA Cup at Gresty Road this afternoon.
League Two strugglers Crewe started well and took the lead via Byron Moore’s slick finish in the 18th minute.
But home skipper Ashley Westwood was sent off just two minutes later, for a dangerous tackle on Ben Coker, and the U’s eventually took control during a one-sided second period, scoring four goals inside the final half-hour.
A stunning long range shot from Lloyd James brought the scores level on the hour mark, before fellow midfielder Andy Bond rifled home from just inside the box to put the U’s 2-1 up in the 75th minute.
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Coker then rammed home the killer third, with an angled drive into the far corner of the net, with three minutes remaining.
And there was still time for James to sweep home his second goal of the afternoon, from 20 yards out, in stoppage time.
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For long spells of this game, it had looked as though John Ward’s men would struggle to peg back their hosts, but by the finish they were in cruise-control.
The U’s had been caught by a quick breakaway for Moore’s opener on 18 minutes.
It was Moore who started the break, by bursting clear of Magnus Okuonghae and surging towards the U’s penalty area.
He set up A-Jay Leitch-Smith, who saw his goalbound shot blocked by the legs of keeper Ben Williams, but Moore lashed home the rebound in impressive fashion.
Two minutes later and Crewe’s joy turned to despair when their skipper, Westwood, was sent off for a late lunge on Coker. Westwood’s straight red card, for serious foul play, looked a deserved one.
But the visitors could not make their numerical advantage count before half-time.
In fact, they failed to trouble keeper Steve Phillips, who watched half-chances from Ashley Vincent, James, Kayode Odejayi and Bond all drift wide off target.
Casey Thomas, who failed to sparkle on his Colchester debut, was substituted after 55 minutes.
Five minutes later and the U’s were level, thanks to James’ wonder goal. The midfielder’s 25-yard scorcher dropped into the net via the underside of the bar, giving keeper Phillips no chance.
Bond nearly upstaged him from 30 yards out in the 72nd minute. But this time Phillips was able to palm the ball over his bar.
However, just three minutes later and Bond was not to be denied. The ex-Crewe man steered a volley into the roof of the net, from 12 yards out, after the Railwaymen had failed to fully clear a corner by James.
Coker made the game safe with an excellent finish in the 87th minute, and James swept home the fourth on 92 minutes.
CREWE: Phillips, Martin, Artell, Dugdale, Tootle, Murphy, Bell (sub Hughes, 84), Westwood, Leitch-Smith (sub Mellor, 84), Powell (sub Sarcevic, 67), Moore. Unused subs: Martin, Davis, Shelley, Clayton.
COLCHESTER: Williams, Wilson, Okuonghae, Heath, Coker, Thomas (sub Izzet, 55), Bond, James, Vincent (sub Duguid, 82), Henderson, Odejayi. Unused subs: Rose, Eastman, Hamilton, Cousins.
Referee: Mr David Coote