Colchester United closed the gap to safety to five points with a crucial win over bottom club Yeovil on Tuesday night.
Four straight defeats for U’s and back to back three-nil defeats for Yeovil made for a tense atmosphere going into the game, with League One's two bottom placed clubs desperate for a late life line.
Step up; Jacob Murphy. The Norwich loanee had such an influence on Colchester’s left flank and after winning his side a spot kick that David Fox netted, the winger then bagged a goal of his own.
The impportant win sees U’s remain second-bottom in the League but keep in touch the teams above them and create some momentum going into the final nine games of the season.
Yeovil actually made the stronger start and called Sam Walker into action early on but the U’s keeper stood strong to deny Joel Grant’s headed effort from creeping in after he had latched onto Sam Foley’s lofted ball.
Just minutes later Walker played the hero again, this time with a fine double save; first diving down low to his right to block Gozie Ugwu’s powerful drive before being alert to keep out James Hayter’s follow up with his feet.
Alex Gilbey then provided a temporary respite for the under pressure U’s with a long ranged effort that forced the Glovers’ keeper Scott Loach to tip the ball away for a corner.
Next with a chance was Murphy, his good work down the right had earned U’s another corner and a knock down from the resulting set piece teed him up for a long range effort that glanced just past the post.
The winger who earned man of the match in his debut last week was picking up where he left off.
This time running rings around the Yeovil full back and whipping a delicious ball across goal that Dion Sembie-Ferris misjudged and couldn’t connect with.
On the stroke of half time Sembie-Ferris again had a chance to open the scoring but couldn’t convert, his chance coming from clever interplay between Murphy and George Moncur.
The second half started with Yeovil piling on the pressure via a succession of set pieces. The much changed Colchester defence however stood firm to clear the danger again and again.
At the other end Colchester’s first attack of the half found greater reward as Murphy forced Nathan Smith into a foul inside the box, Referee Williamson pointed to the spot.
In the absence of regular penalty taker Chris Porter, last week’s goal scorer Fox stepped and dispatched the spot kick top corner to give U’s a much needed lead.
Only four minutes later Murphy had matched up his assist with goal, in turn doubling U’s lead. His driving run down the left covered half the pitch before he calmly slotted past Loach.
Tony Humes looked for extra presence in attack going into the game’s final quarter and replaced Sembie-Ferris and Rhys Healey with Gavin Massey and Porter.
A spell of controlled possession and smart play from U’s began to see the out the game with their two goal lead sitting tight, Yeovil were left frustrated and failed provide any real threat late on.
The final five minutes Craig Eastmond who scored the winning goal for U’s in the reverse fixture this season, stepped onto the pitch in Yeovil colours to face the side he parted with in January.
Hayter did make Colchester sweat in the dying minutes as he rocketed the ball in the net, only to be adjudged correctly offside. Colchester saw out injury time to complete a key two-nil victory.