Colchester United are into the quarter finals of the Carabao Cup, for the first time since 1974.
Goals from Luke Norris and Luke Gambin, sandwiching an own goal from Michael Luyambula from a Cohen Bramall free kick, ensured that the U's progressed in the League Cup.
Colchester United lined up with an unchanged starting eleven from the weekend win against Newport. Tom Lapslie returned to the bench replacing Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu.
The U’s had to soak up a lot of early pressure from the home side, as Crawley pressed forward and camped in the U's half for the first five minutes of the game. Although the U’s were unable to break out, Gerken wasn’t tested as Prosser and Eastman shielded their goal well.
It was the visitors with the first glimmer of a chance a couple of minutes later, as Luke Norris chased a loose back pass, putting home keeper Luyambula under pressure.
But it was the home side who had the first real sight of goal, with Gerken getting down quickly to his left to stop Bulman from firing Crawley in front. The follow up was taken on by Mason Bloomfield, but he was offside, so unable to capitalise.
Norris then went close in an end to end first fifteen minutes. Nouble fired the ball across, and Luke Norris was inches away from poking the U’s in front.
Crawley did get their noses in front soon after. Dannie Bulman unleashed a rocket which arrowed past Gerken into the top corner just after the twenty minute mark.
The home side would only hold onto the lead for ninety seconds, with Norris powering a header into the back of the net to level the scores.
Nouble worked his footwork magic to get past Ferguson into the box, and looped up a cross, which Luke Norris gratefully accepted and powered home a headed equaliser.
The U's were on top from then on in the first half. Just five minutes later Norris struck the bar.
Again, Nouble providing the assist, as he headed back a Ryan Jackson cross. Luke Norris got his toe to it, but couldn’t divert into the net, as it clipped the top of the bar on the way over.
The U’s had been having a lot of success down the left flank with a couple of Bramall crosses being cleared, and Nouble easily getting the better of Sesay pretty much every time.
The first half drew to a close with nothing to split the teams, and still all to play for.
The U’s started the second half explosively, with Bramall breaking forwards after a slip from Dallison. His shot fizzed just wide, as the U's tried to take the lead.
And they did just that moments later. Norris broke free of the defence, but was just clipped by Tunnicliffe, bringing him down twenty five yards from goal.
Cohen Bramall stepped up to take the resulting free kick and smashed it against the bar, but fortune favoured the U’s as the ball bounced off the back of Luyambula and in, sending the away fans wild.
The U’s number nine could only play for another five minutes, and was taken off with an injury and replaced by Callum Harriott.
There was another decisive change by John McGreal on seventy five minutes, as Kwame Poku made way for the former Crawley man, Luke Gambin.
Senior blasted a chance over for 1-3, but the goal came soon after. Gambin rifled in a shot, almost taking the back of the net off.
The move was started by Nouble, who played the ball to Senior. With great vision, Courtney played the ball to Gambin, who fired Colchester into the quarter finals of the Carabao Cup.
It could quite easily have been more than three for Colchester, with chances for Lapslie and Comley going begging, but the players and fans won’t care a bit.
A fantastic night for Colchester United, who are into the quarter finals of the Carabao Cup for the first time since 1974.
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