Relentless U's move to within one point of the play-offs
PUBLISHED: 12:44 03 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:44 03 November 2019
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Mansfield Town 2 Colchester United 3
Colchester United moved to within just one point of the League Two play-offs, following a deserved 3-2 away success at Mansfield on Saturday, just four days after they had booked a Carabao Cup quarter-final tie against Manchester United with a win at Crawley.
John McGreal's men could even afford the luxury of another penalty miss as they made it three wins on the bounce, while stretching their unbeaten run to four games.
McGreal enthused: "This was more than just another win - I thought the boys were excellent, especially after the euphoria of the win on Tuesday (at Crawley) and all the TV highlights of what's got on in the draw on Thursday, to get possibly the biggest club in the world.
"The boys nailed the tactical side of it, particularly in an attack sense, and to put in a performance like that, against a Mansfield side who have picked up of late, was terrific.
"I thought the 3-2 score-line suggests it was a little bit closer than it really was, because some of our play was there for all to see.
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"It could have been 'After The Lord Mayor's Show,' but it wasn't," added McGreal.
Midfielder Brandon Comley broke the deadlock with a superb 30-yarder on eight minutes, only for the Stags to equalise through Ryan Sweeney's close-range tap-in from Mal Benning's corner.
Benning tripped Kwame Poku to hand the U's a 48th minute penalty, but Frank Nouble's spot kick was saved by keeper Conrad Logan. However, the U's heads did not drop, even after Callum Harriott's shot was turned onto a post by the impressive Logan, just after the hour mark.
Courtney Senior finally regained the U's the lead, thanks to a fine solo effort in the 74th minute, and substitute Luke Gambin made the game safe by sweeping home the third in the 87th minute, from Cohen Bramall's cross. Omari Sterling-James bagged a stoppage-time consolation for the hosts.
McGreal added: "Noubs (Nouble) is as disappointed as anyone to miss two penalties in a row (also at Crewe). He has apologised to the boys, but he has again put in a terrific shift."
There was also the bonus of a cameo appearance from Harry Pell, as a late substitute, on his comeback from injury.
COLCHESTER: Gerken, Jackson, Eastman, Prosser, Bramall, Comley, Stevenson (sub Pell, 90), Senior, Poku (sub Lapslie, 82), Harriott (sub Gambin, 85), Nouble. Unused subs: Sowunmi, Brown, Clampin, Ross.