Colchester United have beaten Ipswich Town to progress in the Leasing.com Trophy
An astonishing second half strike from Ryan Clampin separated the two teams, with the three points giving the U's top spot in the the group.
Both sides made changes for this final group stage match, with the U’s and Spurs U21s, (who needed a positive result at Gillingham to stand a chance), vying to join Town in the next phase of the competition.
It was the visitors that settled first, with plenty of possession, but no real quality in front of goal.
Edwards shot wide after seven minutes, before El Mizouni forced a tip over save from Ethan Ross and Edwards shot wide once again.
The U’s were finding it hard to get a real grip on the game going forward, and Luke Norris and Omar Sowunmi were both booked for fouls around the half hour mark.
Defensively, the U’s were protecting Ross effectively, and Ipswich weren’t firing on all cylinders in attack.
Edwards, who was looking the most dangerous player for Town in general play, failed to hit the target for the third time with thirty eight minutes on the clock, before the U’s had their first effort.
A decent passage of play on the right freed up Jevani Brown, but his attempted shot from just outside the box was blocked before it could test Holy.
The closest either side came to scoring was on forty three minutes, when Luke Prosser brilliantly blocked a Ben Folami effort that looked destined to hit the U’s net.
It was the U’s who had the final chance of the half, but Luke Norris’ free-kick went just the wrong side of the post.
The second half started in similar fashion, with the visitors having the better of things without being able to test Ross in the U’s goal.
Folami, El Mizouni and Anthony Georgiou were the guilty parties in the first ten minutes of the half, before John McGreal made his first change of the evening.
Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu came off worse in a challenge with Aristote Nsiala and was replaced on fifty six minutes by Ryan Jackson.
Norris then got in behind the Town defence, but had appeals for a penalty turned down after he thought he was fouled in the process of finding Courtney Senior with a pass.
That was Senior’s last involvement, he was replaced by Kwame Poku with sixty four minutes on the clock.
Harry Pell, starting his first game since the opening day of the season, hit a shot well over the bar and then Tom Lapslie did the same after receiving a corner short from Brown.
In between those efforts, Theo Robinson replaced Frank Nouble, as the U’s looked to finish the stronger.
On seventy nine minutes, the game was decided by Clampin’s effort, but it was an extraordinary way to win any game.
The U’s young defender had to get to a ball first to prevent an Ipswich counter attack around forty five yards from the Town goal, and got such a good contact on the challenge that it flew over Holy and into the top corner.
There was still eleven minutes left, but the goal seemed to break any enthusiasm Town had, and those minutes were mainly played in the Town half of the pitch.
By this time, Gillingham had already beaten Spurs U21s in the other group, ensuring the U’s were through to the knock-out stages whatever the score-line at the JobServe Community Stadium.
But the win took the U’s top of the group and meant that they were guaranteed a home draw in Saturday’s draw.
And they could relax at the weekend listening to the draw, with the game against Bradford City called off due to international call ups for Comley, Harriott and Gambin, who all missed this game.