The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Jon Wal­dron

IT WAS an out­come few neu­trals would have pre­dicted be­fore­hand but Colch­ester pro­duced their per­for­mance of the sea­son to-date.

Af­ter guiding his rel­e­ga­tion-threat­ened Colch­ester United side to a shock suc­cess over the league lead­ers, Tony Humes is hop­ing this re­sult will be the cat­a­lyst for them to climb away from trou­ble.

The U’s had won only three home league games all sea­son, prior to the visit of a ta­ble-top­ping Bris­tol City side who had lost only three times on the road.

But first-half goals from Tom Lap­slie, Ma­cauley Bonne and Chris Porter gave Colch­ester the per­fect plat­form.

And although James Tav­ernier and Aden Flint net­ted in the sec­ond half for the Robins, the U’s held on for a pre­cious win which has lifted them out of the bot­tom four.

Humes said: “Beat­ing the best team in the league has got to give us con­fi­dence and be­lief.

“We just have to feed off that for the rest of the sea­son and say ‘we can do it’.

“We scored three re­ally good goals and I was re­ally pleased with the way we played.

“We urged the play­ers to be brave and get on the ball and pass it more than per­haps we have done over re­cent games and they got their just re­wards with what they did.

“Credit to the play­ers, be­cause they thor­oughly de­served their win and the fans were great from start to fin­ish and re­ally got be­hind us.”

Bris­tol City boss Steve Cot­ter­ill ad­mit­ted his side’s poor start to the game cost them dear.

He said: “We did not start for 30 min­utes and that cost us – we didn’t turn up in the first half.

“We tried to play foot­ball too much on a poor pitch and we had the ball nicked off us a cou­ple of times for the goals.

“We tried to pass the ball and it’s not a pitch to pass on.

“We should have been a bit brighter than that but we weren’t and we didn’t learn our les­son.

“It (play­ing a side near the bot­tom) was not more chal­leng­ing; it was our own fault and we’re dis­ap­pointed with our own per­for­mance.”

Colch­ester made a dream start when Lap­slie nod­ded them into a third-minute lead, af­ter Bris­tol City goal­keeper Frank Field­ing had failed to hold onto El­liott He­witt’s cross.

And 11 min­utes later, Bonne dou­bled the U’s ad­van­tage when he bril­liantly headed home Matt Briggs’ fine de­liv­ered cross.

Wade El­liott struck a post for Bris­tol City soon af­ter but Porter made it 3-0 in the 26th minute with a pre­cise shot from He­witt’s pass.

The vis­i­tors re­duced the deficit when Tav­ernier’s fluke ef­fort from just in­side the Colch­ester half flew in, five min­utes af­ter the break.

And af­ter Flint nod­ded in Korey Smith’s cross just af­ter the hour, the Robins went all out for an equaliser. But a determined Colch­ester side stood firm to reg­is­ter a sur­prise win and boost their sur­vival hopes.

COLCH­ESTER: Walker 7, Clo­hessy 8, East­man 8, Wyn­ter 8, Briggs 8, He­witt 8 (Mon­cur 67 6), Gil­bey 8, Lap­slie 9 (Mar­riott 90 N/A), Massey 8, Porter 8, Bonne 8. Subs not used: Gor­don, Har­ney, Sem­bie-Fer­ris, Healey, Lew­ing­ton.

BRIS­TOL: Field­ing 5, Ayling 4 (Lit­tle 31 6), Flint 6, Wil­liams 5, Tav­ernier 6, Bryan 6, K Smith 6, El­liott 6, Free­man 6, Em­manuel-Thomas 4 (Agard 46 5), M Smith 5 (Wil­ber­ham 62 6) Subs not used: Richards, Wagstaff, Cun­ning­ham, Pack.


CAN U’S BE­LIEVE IT? Colch­ester cel­e­brate af­ter go­ing three goals ahead

DE­NIED: Aaron Wil­bra­ham buries what he thought was the equaliser only for it to be chalked off

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