Rebels Discover United Are In A Different League

Slough Town

Slough Town

Colchester Utd

Colchester Utd

McDonagh (38, 80)
League Attendance: 1120 Tony Dell
Colchester United took a step nearer a return to the Football League at the expense of Slough Town at Wexham Park on Tuesday night. The U's 2-0 win over the never-say-die Rebels extended the club's run of games without defeat to nine as they moved to within one point of Barnet who themselves knocked Kettering off the top perch for the first time this season at the weekend.

Colchester now look a good bet to follow Lincoln and Darlington straight back into the Fourth Division following relegation. "I think we saw the side which is going to win promotion," admitted Rebel boss Alan Davies after the game. "So in real terms we cannot be too disappointed with our performance. We fought and never gave up against a full-time side and the difference was obvious for all to see. They weren't pretty or flash, didn't bombard us they just had the game comprehensively under their control."

The night belonged almost entirely to the Essex side who stamped their authority even before the off as a noisy choir drowned out local support. No, we did not hear the Rebels sing — which unfortunately counts for something.

Their consummate goals came from identical moves, the ball swept wide from the midfield, to Gary Bennett in the 38th minute and then to sub Laurie Ryan in the 80th. The crosses rained in and striker Roy McDonough was left free around the far post area to nod home both from close range.

The pumped-up U's were given an almost too healthy respect by Rebels who allowed them ample room to manoeuvre in attack as well as in defence.

The Rebels spoiled the chances they did create by too often failing to find players accurately, going forward instead like optimistic missionaries in search of salvation. Steve Thompson, back in action after a three match ban collected in January, was thrown forward to partner Jon Sissons and Neal Stanley.

The trio had a few bright moments in the first half, but Thompson was very quiet during the second when Stanley also left the pitch after injuring a collarbone in a fall. Thompson had two good opportunities, swerving the ball wide of the post after Tony Dell had miscued on the edge of the area, and then finishing lamely with his left foot after a typical mazy run from 50 yards out.

He alone matched the flair of the Essex men, but otherwise the Rebels relied on effort more than skill, and there was no lack of commitment. Slough's seven man defence of Anderson, Pratt, Donnellan, Dell, Stacey, Knight and How did sterling work to scramble a plethora of crosses and incursions to safety.

When they failed to clear, Bennett was able to set the crossbar quivering as he beat Trevor Bunting with an explosive 18 yard drive. Nas Bashir came on at the interval as the Rebels tried to change the accent to attack, and in a good spell Dell's goal-line effort from Knight's neat chip was somehow kept out.

Petulance and frustration fused, however, into a booking for Knight before Colchester regained control. Failing to break the Rebel resistance, they made two changes including bringing on Cambridge United loanee Laurie Ryan.

Ryan's influence was immediate, beating Donnellan on the right to get over a low cross which Mario Walshjust failed to met and then finding McDonough's head with another which flew home. It was all just to much for Slough who were left wondering how to get out of a rut which has yielded just one Conference victory from the last nine games.

Colchester Utd Lineup

Barrett, English, Atkins, Colinbs, Dabiles, Marmon, Donald, Bennett, McDonough, Walsh, Smith. Subs: Elliott (for Collins), Ryan (for Bennett).


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