Goals from Mikael Mandron and Sammie Szmodics gave Colchester United an impressive 2-0 win at Crawley Town this afternoon to boost their League Two promotion hopes.

Mandron struck in the opening minutes and Szmodics scored his seventh goal in eight games to give John McGreal's side their first-ever win at the Broadfield Stadium, in front of 375 jubilant U's fans.

Crawley were forced to make a change just before kick-off, with Yusuf Mersin called into the side after goalkeeper Glenn Morris injured his back in the warm-up.

And Mersin was picking the ball out of his net in only the fourth minute, as Colchester made a great start.

After Mandron had raced into the area and Drey Wright’s shot was blocked, Cedric Evina dwelt on the ball and Mandron gleefully slotted home for his eighth goal of the season.

Colchester were afforded plenty of space to play in by their hosts in the opening stages, with the visitors looking the sharper of the two teams.

With Szmodics, making his 100th career appearance, looking sharp the U’s looked dangerous on the counter-attack while in contrast, Crawley looked sluggish and lethargic.

But the hosts did have their moments though, with U’s goalkeeper Sam Walker palming away Evina’s cross-turned-shot at full stretch just before the 20-miniute mark.

And Tom Eastman did well to block from near his own goal-line, after Jordan Roberts had got on the end of Lewis Young’s deep cross and fired towards goal.

But while Mersin was not over-worked in the first half, Colchester looked the more dangerous of the two sides in the first half and probably deserved their slender half-time advantage.

Crawley made a double change at the break, sending on Mark Randall and Ibrahim Meite for Thomas Verheydt and Moussa Sanoh in a bid to get back into the contest.

But it was Colchester who scored the game’s next goal when they doubled their lead, just before the hour mark.

After Brandon Comley’s pass had sent him clear of the Crawley defence, Szmodics calmly lifted the ball past the on-rushing Mersin and into the net to score his 12th of the season.

Crawley tried to respond to the setback of going 2-0 down, with substitute Ibrahim Meite heading a swirling pass straight at Walker from close range.

But at the other end, Mersin parried away Wright’s cross and the Crawley keeper was almost left red-faced when Tom Eastman’s ambitious low 35-yard strike almost flew into the net.

Crawley captain Mark Connelly’s long-range effort whistled just wide of the far post with 15 minutes remaining, before Sean Murray, Kurtis Guthrie and Brandon Hanlan were both sent on with the clock ticking down.

And the U's saw the game out, to claim another significant away win.