U’s take a giant step towards safety as Grimsby are grounded

Colchester United v Grimsby Town – Sky Bet League Two – JobServe Community Stadium – Report

Colchester United 2-0 Grimsby Town

Colchester United took a sizable step towards securing their Sky Bet League Two status with a dogged performance and victory over fellow strugglers Grimsby Town at a chilly JobServe Community Stadium.

A 3-2 triumph over play-off contenders Crawley Town had given the U’s breathing space: “I think good players and good teams back up good performances,” Head Coach, Danny Cowley explained.

“We have the opportunity to do that on Tuesday. We play a Grimsby team who have been fighting for their lives themselves and had a really positive result on Saturday against Crewe, which pretty much retains their status in the division.

“It’s been interesting to watch them because we prepared for them in February and they were playing a possession-based game, very different to what they’ve probably done in the last ten to twelve games where they’ve played much more direct, been much more purposeful in their play – lots of balls in the box, long throws on both sides and they ask you a lot of questions in that way.

“So, we’re going to need to be ready for that. But we’ve shown that we can stand up to that. We’ve done that in the past and for us, we’re at home where we love to be. There are four games left now and three of those are at home, and it’s just a brilliant opportunity for us.

“And we can feel the connection with our supporters growing by the day. The away support at Crawley was just incredible on Saturday and the home support has been brilliant since Nicky and I arrived so that’s going to be really important come Tuesday for sure.”

Cowley made one change from the side that picked up three priceless points at Crawley four days previous. Noah Chilvers was replaced by John Akinde. 

And it was a perfect start from the home side. Tom Hopper followed his two goals at the weekend by clipping over Jake Eastwood to open the scoring after Arthur Read had set him clear.

Perhaps with so much still at stake, a nervousness had taken hold of the contest. Exchanges were scrappy. Cameron McGeehan went close for the home side, while Donovan Wilson’s attempt was deflected behind as Grimsby finally showed their teeth.

Jayden Fevrier’s effort was nodded off the line following a fluent move involving McGeeham and Akinde. Meanwhile, U’s defender, Tom Dallison, twice intervened, while Jay Mingo also put his body on the line as the visitors built a head of steam towards the latter stages of the opening half.

Grimsby continued to threaten after the restart. Justin Obinkwu wanted a spot-kick but was cautioned by referee Carl Brook for simulation. Substitute, Noah Chilvers was thwarted by stopper Eastwood as the U’s attempted to break the emerging pattern. 

Fevrier grazed the foot of an upright after Akinde had played him in, but otherwise, Grimsby were dominant, with Harry Clifton nodding agonisingly wide following a swift raid down the right as the home side were shown no respite.

But with eleven minutes remaining, a moment of magic from Akinde, who lifted the ball over Eastwood and just inside the angle to double the U’s lead, and settle a few nerves.

Hornby produced excellent saves to deny Harry Wood, and Charles Vernan late in the game., either side of a straight red card for Dallison for an ungainly challenge on Obikwu.

But the U’s held firm to move four points clear of Sutton United, while condemning Forest Green Rovers to the drop in the process

Colchester United return to Sky Bet League Two action on Saturday, April 20, when they face Notts County at Meadow Lane (3pm).

Colchester United: Hornby, Iandolo, Hall, Dallison, McGeehan, Hopper, Read, Mingi, Akinde (Harbottle 83’), A. Smith (Chilvers 46’), Fevrier (Richardson 90+7′) Subs not used: Goodman, Jay, Wilkinson, Ihionvien.

Booked:  Hornby (time-wasting), Iandolo (foul), Dallison (foul)

Red Card: Dallison (foul)

Goals: Hopper 5′, Akinde 79′

Grimsby Town: Eastwood, L. Smith (Eisa 78’), Green, Rogers, Thompson (Wood 66’), Vernam, Clifton, Obikwu, Tharme, Wilson, Mullarkey Subs not used: Auton, Ainley, Andrews, Maher, Hume.

Booked: Obikwu (diving), Mullarkey (foul)

Goals: None

Referee: Carl Brook

Assistants: Sam Ogles and Alan Cresswell 

Fourth Official: Ryan Head

Attendance: 4,350 (440 from Grimsby Town)

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk