Fantastic five

THE County Ground has certainly been a happy hunting ground for Colchester United, over recent years.

The U’s have now not lost at Swindon Town in their last five visits to Wiltshire after their 3-2 win there last night, which was arguably the pick of the bunch.

One of the most impressive aspects of the victory was the fact that they battled back to win after going behind, the first time Colchester have achieved the feat away from home in the league since winning 2-1 at Bradford City under Kevin Keen in March, 2016.

It turned out to be a five-goal thriller at Swindon, despite both sides only managing three shots on target.

But John McGreal’s side are proving pretty potent at present and their tally of six goals in their last two games, against sides above them in the table, is a reflection of the kind of form they are currently in.

A wise decision

MUCH of the talk prior to Colchester United’s Friday night game at Swindon Town had centred around how they would cope with the absence of key defender Ryan Inniss.

In the end, U’s head coach John McGreal opted to switch from the 3-5-2 formation that had served them so well over recent weeks to a 4-3-3 system, bringing in Kyel Reid on the left wing.

The result? A fine victory and Reid supplying assists for two of Colchester’s goals in his first league start for more than six weeks.

It proved to be a wise decision by McGreal and his players deserve credit for effortlessly making the switch so effectively and coping well with the absence of the influential Inniss.

Mandron making an impact

SAMMIE Szmodics has been earning plenty of plaudits for his goalscoring form over recent weeks and with five goals in his last six games after returning from injury, it’s hardly surprising.

He has overtaken Mikael Mandron as Colchester United’s leading goalscorer with ten goals but the Frenchman has played his part in Szmodics’ good form.

Mandron netted for the first time in eight games in the U’s 3-2 triumph at Swindon Town last night.

But as his head coach John McGreal said, he has been the perfect foil for Szmodics and his second-half display at the County Ground was excellent.

If Mandron scores in any of Colchester’s final three games of 2017, he will have overtaken Chris Porter’s total for the last calendar year.

That would be a notable milestone, given that Mandron was essentially brought into replace the U’s former captain.

Promotion-winning form

COLCHESTER United’s stay in League Two’s play-off places was brief; it lasted less than 24 hours, after their win at Swindon Town.

But with the season yet to have reached the halfway mark, the U’s form is providing evidence that they are in a position where they are ready to launch a concerted push for automatic promotion.

Only goal difference is keeping them out of the top seven but if you ask any of their players, they are aiming higher than a play-off place.

Automatic promotion is the objective and they are only four points off third-placed Exeter City, who Colchester did so well to beat last weekend.

Things are looking good for the U’s; taking nine points from a possible 12 from games against teams above them in the table bodes well for the second half of the campaign.

Super support

JOHN McGreal made a point of praising Colchester United’s supporters, after their splendid win at Swindon Town last night.

The U’s head coach and his players spent some considerable time after the final whistle applauding the travelling band of fans who battled the M25 and M4 to travel down to Wiltshire on a dark December night.

And the feeling was mutual, after Colchester’s fine 3-2 win over a side who had started the game above them in the League Two table.

Colchester’s excellent support on the road has been a common occurrence this season and they are being rewarded by some excellent away performances and results.