West­ley gives side lit­tle hope of safety

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Michael Piper To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

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.”




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