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Manchester United 3-0 Colchester United
COLCHESTER UNITED’S Carabao Cup adventure was brought to its conclusion as Manchester United netted three times inside ten second-half minutes to ease through this fifth-round tie at Old Trafford.
Having already dispatched Premier League opposition in the shape of Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur, United boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer certainly wasn’t taking the League Two side for granted.
“They are a well organised, disciplined team that are going to make it hard for us,” the former frontman explained.
“They are well organised. But we’re favourites and we should be able to create chances and, hopefully, go through.”
And so it proved. Unsurprisingly, it was the home side who offered the greater threat. Marcus Rashford’s angled dead-ball attempt fizzed wide – the is after the England man had somewhat theatrically gone to ground. Then Dean Gerken grabbed another Rashford free-kick at the second attempt as a clutch of potential taker prowled for the pieces had the U’s stopper slipped.
Rashford was the proverbial thorn in Colchester’s side – this time thundering over from distance. In the meantime, Gerken remained busy, clawing out a driven low centre from the United man as the north Essex side were forced further and further back, seemingly shy of an outlet.
Rashford and Andreas Pereira were both wayward, while Tom Eastman moved swiftly to snub out Anthony Martial as the hosts continued to ask all the questions. But having withstood a barrage, Colchester were a whisker away from snatching the lead when Callum Harriott drove narrowly wide from just outside the box.
Mason Greenwood was agonisingly close to a telling touch to Luke Shaw’s centre – Ryan Jackson drove directly at Sergio Romero as the sides exchanged opportunities immediately after the interval. But having navigated their way past 186 minutes without conceding against Premier League opposition, Colchester were finally breached. Rashford danced his way clear before planting a fierce right-footed strike beyond Gerken, much to the relief of the agitated home crowd.
The goal settled United. Ryan Jackson, unfortunately, deflected into his own goal after Mason Greenwood had intended to pick out Rashford. Then, just after the hour, Martial arrived to add a third from close range after Rashford had picked him out.
The game was up for Colchester, but to their enormous credit, they refused to throw in the towel. Luke Norris drove into Romero’s midriff as the League Two side looked to give their 6,000 travelling supporters something to remember from the evening.
But it was United who finished the stronger. Gerken expertly tipped over Harry Maguire’s goalbound header as the twenty-times English champions probed for a fourth.
Colchester United return to Sky Bet League Two action on Saturday, December 21 when Carlisle United are the visitors to the JobServe Community Stadium (3pm).
Manchester United: Sergio Romero, Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford (Jesse Lingard 62’), Andreas Pereira, Ashley Young (Capt), Luke Shaw (Brandon Williams 62’), Mason Greenwood, Nemanja Matic, Axel Tuanzebe (James Garner 65’) Subs not used: Lee Grant (GK), Phil Jones, Scott McTominay, Tahith Chong
Booked: Ashley Young (foul)
Goals: Marcus Rashford 51’, Ryan Jackson (own-goal) 56, Anthony Martial 61’
Colchester United: Dean Gerken, Ryan Jackson, Cohen Bramall, Tom Lapslie, Luke Prosser (Capt), Harry Pell (Ben Stevenson 66’), Luke Norris, Brandon Comley (Luke Gambin 73’), Callum Harriott (Kwame Poku 77’), Tom Eastman, Frank Nouble Subs not used: Ethan Ross (GK), Omar Sowunmi, Jevani Brown, Ryan Clampin
Booked: Harry Pell (foul), Dean Gerken (time-wasting), Callum Harriott (foul)
Referee: David Coote
Assistants: Neil Davies and Nick Hopton
Fourth Official: David Webb
Reaction to follow….