Red Devils edge it to leave U’s on brink
TIME will tell how crucial the outcome of this contest will be for these two relegation-haunted sides.
But Crawley’s huge win at fellow strugglers Colchester has at least given them a fighting chance of avoiding the dreaded drop, while damaging their hosts’ own survival hopes in the process.
Izale McLeod, who once had a loan spell at Colchester, bagged the all-important winner with 15 minutes remaining, to decide a free-flowing basement battle.
The result leaves Crawley three points from safety, with the U’s now six points adrift in the bottom four.
Crawley boss Dean Saunders believes the win could be pivotal in his side’s battle to survive.
He said: “It’s a great result for us.We had to come here and damage Colchester and try and get the points and we’ve managed to do that.
“I said to them that I don’t care how we play, we just have to make sure we get the points.
“Our win causes Colchester a few problems too.
“It’s also another away win for us, which breeds confidence.
“It was a terrific effort from everybody and we scored two great goals and a penalty.
“We had numerous chances and we hit the post twice and a goal disallowed for offside – we created lots of chances.”
For Richard Hall, the defeat was a big blow, with ten games remaining.
But the U’s assistant boss insists they are not throwing in the towel just yet.
He said: “We have 30 points still to play for and no-one can feel sorry for themselves.
“They have to dust themselves down and put that little bit more effort in on Tuesday against Yeovil.
“It’s a devastating setback to lose. It was a game where we had the majority of the play but once again, it’s three preventable goals that have really cost us.
“We knew what we were getting from Crawley – they had four chances but we gifted them three goals and the most disappointing thing is that it’s stuff that we had worked on during the week.”
McLeod hit a post early on before Sammie Szmodics gave Colchester a tenth-minute lead with a shot that flew past Lewis Price. Crawley equalised four minutes later when former Colchester defender Ryan Dickson tapped home Lewis Young’s low cross.
Anthony Wordsworth hit the crossbar for the visitors before they went ahead four minutes before halftime through Gavin Tomlin, who swept home from Young’s delivery.
Colchester skipper David Fox made it 2-2 just after half-time with a freekick that crept past Price at his near post.
But McLeod won it for Crawley when he scored from the spot, after being brought down by U’s keeper Sam Walker in the penalty area.
STAR MAN RYAN DICKSO