Understudies shine as U's dominate

AIDY Boothroyd enjoyed the privilege of fringe benefits as Colchester United sailed into the second round of the FA Cup.With Kemi Izzet ill, Kevin Lisbie injured and Anthony Wordsworth suspended, the U's boss called upon David Fox, Phil Ifil and Simon Hackney for this potentially tricky trip to non-league side Bromley.

Stuart Watson

AIDY Boothroyd enjoyed the privilege of fringe benefits as Colchester United sailed into the second round of the FA Cup.

With Kemi Izzet ill, Kevin Lisbie injured and Anthony Wordsworth suspended, the U's boss called upon David Fox, Phil Ifil and Simon Hackney for this potentially tricky trip to non-league side Bromley.

And the trio - who have largely been restricted to reserve team games and late substitute appearances during the Boothroyd reign - grabbed their opportunity with both hands.


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Hackney smashed in the opener with a fine left-footed volley, Fox claimed two second-half assists, while Ifil looked a constant danger down the right-wing.

Add to that the fact that Steven Gillespie came off the bench and bagged himself a goal and Boothroyd has got a serious selection headache ahead of Saturday's home match against Exeter.

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Blue Square South side Bromley came into this game billed as a very serious threat to their high-flying League One opponents.

However, the 76 places that separate these two sides in the football pyramid - not to mention the small matter of professional status - was apparent from the first to the last kick.

Defender Donal O'Sullivan almost headed Phil Ifil's cross past his own keeper, Harrison Dunk headed off the line following Hackney's corner, while Kayode Odejayi lobbed the ball narrowly over the bar as Colchester ran riot in the early stages.

Then, just as Bromley looked to have ridden the early storm, Colchester broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute. Odejayi clipped a superb ball across the box to Hackney who, in acres of space, steadied himself before expertly volleying the ball high into the net from just inside the box.

It was game over as far as a contest three minutes later when Odejayi doubled the visitors' advantage.

The referee played a good advantage following a foul on the excellent Clive Platt in midfield which allowed Odejayi to race forward, muscle his way to goal before scrambling the ball past the onrushing keeper.

Marc Tierney then had a cross clawed out from under the crossbar by the keeper, while Fox saw a long-range effort palmed away for a corner as the ruthless visitors looked to kill off their hosts before half-time.

Former U's striker Gareth Williams came on at the break and, within minutes, he spurned Bromley's best and only real chance of the match when firing straight at keeper Ben Williams.

Colchester didn't dominate the game as much in the second half as they had in the first, but they were still able to add two more goals to cap a highly professional display.

Fox was the creator on both occasions to prove that, in a similar way that David Beckham has done for England, his creative skills can be utilised in a quarter-back type role just in front of the back four.

Platt met the midfield man's left-wing corner with a towering near-post header to make it 3-0 in the 71st minute, before Gillespie - who replaced Odejayi in the 72nd minute - smartly headed in from Fox's deep cross with a minute to go.

The last time Colchester got past the first hurdle of the FA Cup was back in the 2005/6 season when they went on to enjoy a televised fifth round match against Chelsea.

With a squad as strong as this you wouldn't bet against them emulating the feat this time around.

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