Colchester United have won 3-2 at Mansfield
Brandon Comley started things off with a stunning drive to put the U's ahead early.
The hosts got a goal back just before half time, but the U's took the game away from them in the second.
Courtney Senior and Luke Gambin were the scorers, and a second home goal proved only to be a consolation.
Colchester United made one change for the trip to Mansfield, promoting Callum Harriott to the starting XI, in place of Luke Norris, who went off injured against Crawley in the previous game.
Harry Pell was back in the matchday squad for the first time since the opening day, named as a substitute for the League Two clash.
The game started at a fast pace, with Gerken called into action in just the fourth minute. Andy Cook headed goalwards, but the U’s keeper got down low to his right quickly to prevent the hosts from taking an early lead.
It was the U’s who got their noses in front first though. After a corner was nodded out to Bramall, he laid the ball back to Brandon Comley. The Colchester midfielder took aim from thirty yards out and smashed a shot right into the top corner of the net, leaving Conrad Logan no chance to save.
The U's tried to build on this lead quickly, with Stevenson shooting from the edge of the area after a weaving run. His effort was blocked, and found its way to Poku, who also had a shot deflected, this time away and out of danger.
Stevenson tried his luck again with a volley from inside the D of the area after Jackson picked him out, but it was straight at Logan, who saved with ease.
Ben Stevenson was really pulling the strings in the U’s midfield, playing a delightful ball through to Callum Harriott, who accelerated towards goal.
He shot low and hard, but again Logan was up to the challenge, and just got a fingertip to it, to push the ball around the post and out for a corner.
Courtney Senior squandered a big chance to double the lead for Colchester, as Nouble found him just on the edge of the area. He was unable to get a shot away quickly, and was then surrounded when his effort was collected by the home keeper.
Gerken was busy just before the hosts equalised, saving from Nicky Maynard. The home striker shot from twenty five yards, but Dean was able to get down low to his left this time to prevent what would’ve been a good goal.
Mansfield did get their equaliser just before the break. A corner was lofted up and over to the back post for Ryan Sweeney to tap into an empty net. The U’s were unhappy, as Gerken was left on the floor, meaning the home defender was unchallenged at the back, but the goal stood and it remained 1-1 as the sides went into the dressing rooms at the break.
The U’s started the second half brightly, with Poku winning a penalty just a couple of minutes after the restart. His skilled run couldn’t be dealt with and was eventually fouled in the area by Bishop.
Frank Nouble stepped up to take the penalty, but it was saved by Conrad Logan. The U’s striker put it to the goalkeeper’s left, but it was a good height and was punched away and out of danger.
Colchester kept the pressure up, with Harriott the next to go close. He sprinted through the home defence and shot first time against the foot of the post. It didn’t fall kindly for Nouble, who could’nt sort his feet out in time to tap into the empty net, keeping the scored at 1-1.
The U’s really wanted the win, with Senior and Harriott both having efforts not far away from giving Colchester the lead, but the breakthrough did come.
In the seventy fifth minute, on the counter, Courtney Senior put Colchester in front.
In a textbook turn defence into attack move, Mansfield had a free kick collected by Gerken. He threw the ball to Jackson, who in turn fed the ball up to Nouble. Poku took the ball off Frank, and slid in Senior who jinked right and then left to work the space before neatly clipping past Logan to make it 1-2.
It wasn’t without trouble that the U’s stayed in front, with Gerken having to make a brilliant save to deny the home side. A cross was powered along the ground and it was deflected towards the goal, before Gerken stuck out a foot to preserve the U’s lead.
The game was seemingly then put beyond doubt, as another well executed counter led to a third Colchester United goal. Bramall flew down the left wing, playing the ball across to Lapslie, whose shot was blocked on the line.
It fell kindly for Gambin who thighed the ball into the empty net and went off to celebrate his second goal in five days.
There was a welcome sight as the clock struck ninety minutes, as Harry Pell was introduced for only his second appearance of the season.
It would turn out to be a nervy last few minutes, as Sterling-James smashed the ball into the bottom corner from just inside the area, to give the home side hope.
Colchester defended well for the remaining two minutes, with the ball mainly kept in in the attacking half, before the referee blew his whistle to end the game.
It’s a result that sees the U’s rise one place up to eighth in the table, just a point behind Newport who take up the final play off spot.