Westley gives side little hope of safety
COLCHESTER boss Joe Dunne hailed his side’s “magnificent” secondhalf performance as they eased their relegation fears with a priceless 3-2 victory at Stevenage.
Freddie Sears scored twice, either side of one from Jabo Ibehre, after Michael Doughty’s early opener for basement boys Stevenage.
Luke Freeman pulled one back but it was too little, too late from the hosts, who had Filipe Morais sent off in the last few seconds for shoving the ball at Alex Wynter.
“It was a big game and I thought we were very good in the second half.We were magnificent,” said Dunne, whose side had lost their previous four League One matches.
“The first half was scrappy and edgy, but we started to get the ball down and play after the break.
“We could have won by more and I have to pay great credit to my players. We spoke at half-time about being a bit more composed on the ball.
“We made a couple of tweaks to our midfield and it worked exceptionally well.We were first to everything, especially in the second half, and quick to close down.
“It was a big game and, at this stage of the season, an important win.”
Stevenage drew first blood after Francois Zoko won a 50-50 challenge with Marcus Bean.
Doughty latched on to the ball, pushed it past David Wright and then placed his shot beyond onrushing goalkeeper Sam Walker.
Sears fired the visitors level in stoppage time at the end of the first half with a half-volley from just inside the area.
And five minutes into the second half it was 2-1 to Colchester. Day flapped at Sears’ delivery from near the corner flag, the ball somehow deflected off the near post and Ibehre poked home from close range.
Ibehre then squared to Sears for the third but Stevenage ensured a nervous last few minutes after Luke Freeman’s free-kick took a slight deflection and left Walker wrong-footed.
Stevenage boss Graham Westley said: “We made a great start and were one-up going into halftime but hadn’t really played with the belief that we could go on.
“I was trying to get a message across to the players to be more positive but it was too late and Colchester scored just before the break, which then gave them extra belief for the second half.
“After the break we came out with a game plan but, before you knew it, we’d conceded again and were 2-1 down.
“In terms of our survival chances, it’s probably mission impossible now.We have to win every game really but we will fight to the bitter end.”
STAR MAN FREDD
IE SEARS Colche