FANTASTIC U’S END GILLS RUN
COLCHESTER United manager Tony Humes saluted his players after they ended Gillingham’s unbeaten league run and knocked them off the top of the table. The U’s followed up their midweek triumph at Sheffield United with a second successive victory, registering their first home win of the campaign.
All of the goals came in the first half, with Colchester’s on-loan winger Callum Harriott scoring what proved to be the winner after Luke Norris had cancelled out Gavin Massey’s early opener.
Colchester goalkeeper Jamie Jones also saved a penalty for the second successive game, denying Cody McDonald from the spot having also saved Billy Sharp’s spot-kick at Bramall Lane last Tuesday.
Colchester boss Humes said: “Gillingham are a good team and you can see why they’re top of the league. They had great energy and quality and put teams under pressure. But where we haven’t defended so well in recent weeks you have to praise the back four, because I thought they were outstanding.
“We had a bit of a jittery start but as the game went on, the centre-halves did what they are there for. As a team we worked our socks off and got our rewards in the end.
“It was a fantastic win – we showed we were a team out there and we put a shift in to get those three points.You can see it matters to us.”
Gillingham manager Justin Edinburgh was disappointed to see his side’s unbeaten record go – but believes his team will bounce back from the setback.
He said: “We’ve got to get back on the bike and I have great belief that these players will do that.
“We’ve got to overcome that now, starting against Barnsley on Saturday. It’s our first league defeat of the season and it feels like a cup final for Colchester.
“I thought that it was a good game between two teams who competed competitively but fairly. There were lots of incidents but I’d rather not comment on one or two of them.
“It was an open game at the start and we could have been two or three up in the first five minutes.
“It was probably a little bit too open for me, playing away from home. I don’t think we controlled the game as we should have done.The keeper (Jamie Jones) has had a good week and has made a few saves, so credit to him.”
McDonald hit the post inside two minutes before Massey clinically finished from Harriott’s pass to give Colchester an early lead.
Norris equalised for Gillingham three minutes later when he finished well from McDonald’s flick before Harriott scored what proved to be the winner, firing home a superb shot from Matthew Briggs’ pass.
Jones saved McDonald’s penalty after Colchester defender Frankie Kent was ruled to have handled a cross and the onloan keeper then denied Jordan Houghton and Bradley Dack in the second half.
FIRST BLOW: Gavin Massey celebrates his early opener for Colchester DENIED: Gillingham striker Cody McDonald (far left) sees his penalty saved by Jamie Jones STAR MAN JAMIE JONES Colche