Colchester United 3-0 Carlisle United
COLCHESTER UNITED put Manchester United – and all that – well and truly behind them by comfortably dispatching Carlisle United by three unanswered goals in what was a fairly one-sided Sky Bet League Two encounter at the JobServe Community Stadium.
There was very much a feeling of ‘after the Lord Mayors show’ around the sparsely occupied stands. Old Trafford and Colchester’s Carabao Cup adventures were already in the memory – the job in hand was now to enhance league form, which had seen the U’s cobble together six without defeat.
However, before all that, the match had to survive a late pitch inspection. Heavy rain in north Essex had left its mark – referee, Nicholas Kinseley, giving the thumbs up, which possibly came as more of a relief to the travelling Carlisle contingent who had made the near-650 mile round trip.
Callum Harriott’s early trickery required the foil of a frontman to finish – Frank Nouble, who might well have obliged, found himself on the bench – one of five changes made by John McGreal following their midweek cup exploits.
Another starter – goalkeeper, Ethan Ross, did well to turn aside Hallam Hope’s speculative attempt as Carlisle countered. Meanwhile, Luke Gambin contrived to fire wide from close range as Colchester continued to look the more likely.
Hope saw another angled strike deflected behind. But it was Colchester who snatched the advantage midway through the opening period in somewhat comical circumstances.
Nathanial Knight-Percival – under little pressure – sliced horribly into his own net after Cohen Bramall had centred.
Skipper, Luke Prosser, headed directly at visiting stopper, Adam Collin, as the U’s looked to put the game to bed in double-quick time. But four minutes before the break, Colchester did double their lead – Harriott picking up the pieces after Collin had parried Kwame Poku’s initial effort.
Colchester could have added a third on the stroke of half-time. Theo Robinson firing over after picking the pocket of Carlisle defender, Christie Elliott.
Harriott tested Collin as Colchester returned for the second period like a team in a hurry. Indeed, just six minutes after the restart, Bramall brilliantly added a third – curling a dead-ball effort over the wall and beyond Collin from twenty-yards.
A combination of Collin and Nathan Thomas rebuffed Robinson’s goalbound header, while Harriott raced clear and blazed over as Colchester continued to ask almost all of the questions, although Michael Jones tried to lift the spirits of the 183 travelling supporters with an attempt which fizzed the wrong side of an upright.
Collin saved well from Nouble, shortly after the former West Ham United man had arrived from his seat in the wings. But the U’s had done more than enough to suggest their focus is now firmly on a push for promotion and a return to League One after an absence of four seasons.
Colchester United return to Sky Bet League Two action on Thursday, December 26 when they face Leyton Orient at the Breyer Group Stadium (3pm),
Colchester United: Ethan Ross, Ryan Jackson, Cohen Bramall, Luke Prosser (Omar Sowunmi 79’), Harry Pell, Theo Robinson (Frank Nouble 76’), Callum Harriott (Tom Lapslie 75’), Tom Eastman, Ben Stevenson, Luke Gambin, Kwame Poku Subs not used: Callum Coulter, Jevani Brown, Ryan Clampin, Michael Fernandes
Goals: Nathanial Knight-Percival (own-goal) 25’, Callum Harriott 41’, Cohen Bramall 51’
Carlisle United: Adam Collin, Christie Elliott (Olufela Olomola 56’), Aaron Hayden, Nathan Thomas (Charlie Birch 88’), Mike Jones, Hallam Hope, Stefan Scougall, Gethin Jones, Bryon Webster, Ryan Loft (Jack Bridge 68’), Nathanial Knight-Percival Subs not used: Louis Gray, Canice Carroll, Mohammed Sagaf, Liam Lightfoot
Booked: Gethin Jones (foul), Stefan Scougall (foul)
Referee: Nicholas Kinseley
Assistants: Michael Webb and Marc Wilson
Fourth Official: Issac Serle
Attendance: 3,164 (183 from Carlisle)