REPORT: Colchester United 2-0 Cheltenham TownColchester United ran out 2-0 winners against Cheltenham Town on a bitterly cold afternoon at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
The Robins went behind early on thanks to Tom Eastman’s header, and it stayed that way until half time.
After the break Cheltenham applied plenty of pressure and had a number of good opportunities, but it was United who scored the second through Brennan Dickenson.
The Robins now aren’t in action until next Tuesday, when they take on Leicester City in the Checkatrade Trophy second round.
Gary Johnson made three changes to the team that lost to Wycombe as new signings Diego De Girolamo and Emmanuel Onariase came into the side with Amari Morgan-Smith.
It was the home side who had the first chance after one minute as Kurtis Guthrie won them a corner, but Chris Porter could only guide his header from the set piece straight at Russell Griffiths.
On the 10 minute mark Colchester took the lead as a free kick on the left hand side was hit towards the back post, and Eastman was on hand to send a looping header over Griffiths and into the far corner.
Cheltenham went searching for an equaliser after that and, following a penalty appeal from De Girolamo, Dan Holman had a decent volley saved comfortably by Sam Walker.
Five minutes before half time the ball broke to Porter just inside the box, but even though he had plenty of space he wasn’t able to shoot anywhere other than straight at Griffiths so it remained 1-0 to Colchester at the break.
After the interval it was The Robins who came out firing and they were unlucky not to get themselves back in the game when De Girolamo had an effort blocked, before then going close again when his shot flew just over the bar.
It was then the home side’s turn to have a spell of pressure and it took an acrobatic save from Griffiths and a clearance off the line from Jordan Cranston to keep Cheltenham in the game.
On 67 minutes the away side had their best chance of the game up to that point as Billy Waters thought his header had beaten Walker in the Colchester goal, only to see the United goalkeeper somehow claw the ball away to safety.
Waters then went close seven minutes later as De Girolamo found him in space on the right, but after cutting inside his shot trickled narrowly wide of the post.
For all Cheltenham’s efforts they were unable to put the ball in the back of the net, and Colchester made them pay for it with just over five minutes to go when Dickenson’s shot from the edge of the box found it’s way into the top left corner.
Colchester United: S Walker, R Brindley (D Wright, 74), T Lapslie, F Kent, C Porter (M Bonne, 90), B Dickenson, G Elokobi, T Eastman, O Garvan, C Slater (T Fosu, 81), K Guthrie.
Unused Subs: D Barnes, K Vincent-Young, A Wynter, L Doyley.
Cheltenham Town: R Griffiths, R Dickie, E Onariase, J Cranston, D O’Shaughnessy, H Pell, J Rowe, A Morgan-Smith (J Dayton, 64), B Waters, D Holman (D Wright, 64), D De Girolamo (J Munns, 88).
Unused Subs: C Kitscha, D Parslow, J Barthram, K Storer.
Attendance: 3840 (126).