A brace from Ade Azeez in either half and Emmanuel Osadebe’s first goal for the U’s ensured Cambridge United’s progression into the Second Round of the Checkatrade Trophy with a 3-1 win over Colchester United.
The U’s made eight changes with Mitov, Davies, Darling, Osadebe, Lewis, John, Dunk and Azeez moving into the starting eleven.
Jake Carroll experienced an action packed opening start to the encounter, when he received a booking inside two minutes for a cynical foul on Sammie Szmodics before the left back then produced an excellent goal saving challenge on the tricky Colchester forward at close range a matter of minutes later in the first chance of the match.
A sublime pass through midfield by Paul Lewis fed Jevani Brown through one on one for the U’s first opening of the game, and with Azeez in support the forward choose to go alone but saw his attempt saved one on one by Dillon Barnes.
The visitor’s keeper was on hand to deny U’s captain for the evening Harrison Dunk too on 19 minutes, with the winger having been played through with a raking cross field pass from Brown.
Lewis was also unable to get the better of Barnes midway through the half when he poked a whipping Leon Davies cross on target at the near post.
It was Ade Azeez who eventually broke the deadlock for the U’s, as the forward skipped past Ollie Kensdale and into the area from the left hand side before placing his shot underneath Barnes at an acute angle.
Persistent work by Osadebe around the edge of the Colchester area paid off as the midfielder worked room for a pass inside to Dunk four minutes before half time, however he was unable to keep his half volley down in front of goal.
There was still time for further late drama in the half. Having been wiped out by centre back Luke Prosser in the area, Azeez picked himself up to take on the spot kick in stoppage time but was denied a second of the game with Barnes first saving the penalty and then the headed rebound from the striker.
David Amoo and George Maris replaced Liam O’Neil and Harrison Dunk after the break.
Dimitar Mitov closely watched a dipping free kick from Brennan Dickenson into his gloves two minutes into the second half, whilst Osadebe bobbled the U’s opening shot at goal after the break wide of the mark.
Mikael Mandron saw his side footed attempted stopped by Mitov and Luke Prosser headed over from a Dickenson corner as the U’s maintained their advantage through the hour mark.
Szmodics looked to be in a dangerous position and certain to equalise at the far post on 63 minutes but Mitov was quick off his line to make himself big and stop the shot with his torso. The Bulgarian’s impressive performance continued with a brilliant reaction save from a deflected Dickenson cross into the six yard box that had ricocheted off Louis John.
Azeez looked to have rounded off the game for the U’s with a divine lob over Barnes from another tight angle with eight minutes to play. However, Harry Pell pulled a goal back for the visitors on the half volley during the second minute of stoppage time.
It did little to worry Joe Dunne’s men though who responded almost instantly, as Emmanuel Osadebe calmly slotted away from 15 yards out to complete the job and ensure United’s place in round two of the competition.
Cambridge United: Mitov, Davies (Halliday, 70 mins), John, Darling, Carroll, O’Neil (Maris, 45 mins), Lewis, Osadebe, Dunk (Amoo, 45 mins), Brown, Azeez
Bookings: Carroll, O’Neil
Colchester United: Barnes, Prosser, Kent, Pell, Szmodics (Senior, 64 mins), Dickenson, Wright, Mandron, Vincent-Young (Gondoh, 71 mins), Kensdale (Jackson, 60 mins), Collins
Attendance: 598 (114)