Colchester boss John McGreal was delighted with the way his players responded under pressure as Kane Vincent-Young’s dramatic late strike secured a potentially vital 1-0 win at Cambridge.
Left-back Vincent-Young’s powerful finish from 20 yards in the last minute of stoppage time saw the Us claim a win which moves them to within a point of the League Two play-off positions.
“The pressure was on today after our recent results and we’ve put in a really good away performance,” said McGreal. “We built it up as a big game this week and the boys have responded to that.
“We missed a lot of chances in the first half and you come out after half-time thinking that might cost you.
“When Sammy Szmodics misses that chance at the end you wonder if that’s it, but again we show great character and our left-back pops up to win it.
“The goal is possibly one of the hardest chances we’ve had all game, and Kane’s managed to put it in the top corner. It’s a terrific strike.”
Colchester have struggled for form of late, but were good value for their win here and should have gone into half-time in front.
Luke Norris blazed over from six yards with the goal gaping in the 33rd minute, after Dimitar Mitov had made a fine save to stop Frankie Kent’s header.
Norris was also off target after the break from Szmodics’ clever cut-back, before Szmodics himself passed up a glorious opportunity to win it in stoppage time, trickling a shot wide from 12 yards.
Luckily Vincent-Young was on hand to spare his blushes.
“We’ve had a couple of sore results of late, but today we just wanted to get back to winning ways, and now we’ll see where it takes us,” McGreal added.
“We’ve been in and the around the play-off places all season and we want to stay there.”
Cambridge, by contrast, are just six points above the relegation zone and rarely threatened during what was a poor performance.
“We’re dejected and feel disappointed about how it ended, but in reality it’s a fair result,” said manager Colin Calderwood. “We didn’t do enough to compete in the game, and didn’t carry enough of a threat.
“They looked dangerous for the majority of the match. We made far too many mistakes and showed no fluidity in our attacking play.
“We have to reflect on the quality of our performance and how we improve that. We couldn’t find a rhythm to our game, and they worked off the second balls much quicker.
“So we feel frustrated about how it ended, but can’t leave here today feeling that we’ve had a point stolen off us and let that paper over the cracks of our performance.”