Crawley Town 1-0 Colchester: Mike Jones hands Reds a first win in four

Crawley's Mike Jones dribbles past Sam Walker  to score against Colchester (Pic by Jon Rigby)
Crawley's Mike Jones dribbles past Sam Walker to score against Colchester (Pic by Jon Rigby)
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Crawley Town claimed their first win in four League One games with a 1-0 home defeat of Colchester United on Saturday.

Mike Jones scored his second goal of the season as Reds deservedly led at half-time.

The visitors though improved in the second period and twice struck the woodwork, though overall the home side just about deserved an important three points which lifts them up to 14th in the table.

John Gregory made two changes from Reds’ defeat at Gillingham, back in the starting XI was leading scorer Matt Tubbs, along with Andy Drury, with Gary Dicker dropping to the bench and Rory Fallon missing out on the squad through injury.

Colchester made two changes from their defeat to Bradford, in came leading scorer Jabo Ibehre, back from injury, and Craig Eastman. Clinton Morrison and Gavin Massey were on the bench.

The game’s first effort came after only three minutes saw Reds skipper Josh Simpson flick on for Tubbs, who took it early and fired well wide.

After 15 minutes Billy Clarke - partnering Tubbs in attack - had a low shot through a crowd of defenders saved by U’s stopper Sam Walker at the second attempt.

And Mike Jones then fired straight at Walker having cut in from the left as the hosts enjoyed the better of the opening 20 minutes.

Colchester hadn’t as yet posed their hosts any concerns and some neat football by Crawley around the visitors 18-yard box resulted in Mike Jones ripping an effort high and wide of the far post having been found by Simpson.

Reds had been by far the better side but they hadn’t carved out any gilt-edge chances until they took the lead four minutes before half-time. Another neat build up saw Kyle McFadzean find Billy Clarke, whose inventive chip over the defence played in Mike Jones, and he stepped round Walker in goal and scored from a tight angle. It was only a second league goal of the season for the midfielder, whose only other goal in League One was the winner on the opening day of the season against Coventry.

Colchester manager Joe Dunn replaced Freddie Sears with Gavin Massey at half-time and the visitors posed a far greater threat in the second half, and just before the hour Sanchez Watt headed against the top of a crossbar from Ryan Dickson’s left-wing cross.

Neither side threatened again until Jamie Proctor - who had replaced Tubbs on 60 minutes - won the ball down the right and played it inside to Simpson, who was charged down at he went to pull the trigger from eight yards out.

Reds skipper Simpson did have the ball in the back of the net for a second time on 80 minutes but he was clearly offside when Clarke’s shot deflected to him.

Straight up the other end ad Colchester struck the woodwork for a second time, substitute Dominic Vose lashing again the inside of the post from distance with Paul Jones well beaten.

And a minute from time only some desperate defending from Mark Connolly and then McFadzean kept out the visitors, substitute Clinton Morrison visibly frustrated to see his shot blocked from close range as Crawley clung on to all three points.

REDS: P Jones, Sadler, M Connolly, McFadzean, Walsh; Bulman, Drury (Torres 74), M Jones, Simpson; Tubbs (Proctor 60), Clarke.

Subs: Torres, Proctor, Kaikai, Boateng, Maddison, Dicker, P Connolly.

U’s: Walker, Wright, Dickson, Okuonghae, C Eastmond (Vose 71), Watt, Sears (Massey 45), Bean, Ibehre (Morrison 71), T Eastman, Wilson.

Subs: Cousins, Morrison, Gilbey, Massey, Vose, Sesay, Bonne.