Red Devils edge it to leave U’s on brink

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

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

N Crawle

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