Three Wins In Four For U's
A fourth goal in five for Freddie Sears has given the U's a third win in four as Joe Dunne's men continue to claw themselves away from the dreaded drop.
With Dunne again sticking with an unchanged eleven for the U's, the first half was a tight affair with relatively few clear cut chances for either side, albeit Sam Walker was forced into a diving save early on to sharply deny Andy Proctor in the game's early exchanges.
As the half developed, Freddie Sears found himself denied for the U's whilst, with around half an hour on the clock, Gavin Massey rifled in an excellent first-time shot that smashed back off of the inside of the visiting post, denying the U's a breakthrough.
Freddie Sears continued his excellent recent form since returning to the side by showing attacking threat with every chance provided to him, and Thorsten Stuckmann continued to thwart the ex-West Ham man's efforts as his link up play with George Porter continued to excite.
As the game ticked towards the hour mark, it was SEARS who finally broke the deadlock. Jabo Ibehre beat the offside trap to race clear of the defence and he slotted his shot beyond Stuckmann, only for it to slow down whilst approaching the goal.
Sears was on hand though to place the ball into the empty net and give the U's a vital lead in a big game, where victory would pull North End into the relegation mire alongside Colchester.
It wasn't to be plain sailing from there on in though, with Lee Holmes cracking an effort onto the crossbar for the visitors from the edge of the area to show that they remained a threat.
However, with just under ten minutes to go, Bailey Wright was dismissed for an off-the-ball altercation with Ibehre to send the visitors down to the ten men and give the U's an extra boost to get themselves over the finishing line and pick up a vital three points.
Elsewhere, wins for Oldham and Scunthorpe keep them in touch with the U's, but Shrewsbury's loss brings them to within two points for Joe Dunne's men, with Preston now only three clear.
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