U's Bounce Back Against Yeovil
Joe Dunne's Colchester United side bounced back in style from their 5-1 weekend thumping by dispatching of high-flying Yeovil Town by two goals to nil at the Weston Homes Community Stadium last night.
With time running out on the season and the U's still in grave danger of losing their League One status it was a must-win evening, but the U's didn't disappoint as they proved good value for the 2-0 victory that keeps them in touch of safety.
The visiting Glovers came into the fixture as the in-form side, having picked up an astonishing twenty-five points from the previous twenty-seven available, but they failed to get going on a chilly night in north Essex.
There was little sign of despondency following a humiliating defeat the last time out for Dunne's men, with the U's taking the impetus right from the beginning and putting Yeovil onto the back foot from the first whistle.
It has become a clear purpose for Joe Dunne to instil pace and trickery into his side, particularly down the flanks, and it is with that pace that the U's continued to dictate the game with George Porter, Bradley Garmston and Gavin Massey all looking dangerous.
Magnus Okuonghae saw two efforts go close with his head before, on the stroke of half-time, the game was lit up by a wonderful strike from Chelsea loanee, Billy Clifford.
Clifford has been described by some as a 'champagne' footballer who, given the luxury of the playing surfaces at the beginning of the season, wouldn't look out of place in a superior side - the opening strike, his first senior goal, was certainly of the champagne ilk.
Having picked the ball up mid-way through the Yeovil half he was awarded the space to press forward, and as the ball sat up perfectly onto his right foot he let fly with a pearler that flew into Marek Stech's right-hand corner of the goal - the Czech keeper was helpless.
To coin a cliche, it is a goal that would have been repeatedly shown on Sky Sports News for days had it been scored in the Premier League, but it was no more than the U's deserved having banished the demons from Saturday and taken the game to their West Country visitors.
Jabo Ibehre went close in front of the empty North End as the second half began, turning his man before bending a fierce shot across the goal only for Stech to keep out the U's efforts on that occasion.
But the U's refused to lie down and Freddie Sears continued his fine goalscoring form of recent weeks by notching his fifth goal in eight games just after the hour mark to allow Dunne's men to breathe a little easier.
West Brom loanee Garmston pressed down the Yeovil right-hand side before, just as it looked like he had been disposed of the ball, twisting back inside the byline and pulling the ball back to the former West Ham man, Sears.
Having brought the well-paced ball under control, Sears hooked the ball back across him into the bottom left of the goal to double the U's advantage and give them something more substantial to protect.
And protect they did, with Sam Walker standing tall in the U's goal on the rare occasion that he was troubled and Magnus Okuonghae and Tom Eastman continuing to look solid on their returning partnership.
If there was one blemish on an otherwise perfect evening, it was that Hartlepool, Bury and Scunthorpe all won their games too to leave it almost as you were.
Oldham's cup exploits came to a close and they now hold a game in hand, albeit just one point above the U's, whilst Shrewsbury lost at home to be pulled slightly closer to the bottom four.
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