Town grabbed a late, late winner against a resolute Colchester United side at the Envirovent Staidum this afternoon thanks to Jack Muldoon’s goal two minutes into stoppage time, earning a 1-0 win saw them move up into the playoff positions.
Without a game at home for over a month Town had climbed the table with an impressive set of away results but struggled to find a way past the U’s, who had provided plenty of threat of their own, until Muldoon pounced after keeper Owen Goodman had parried Matty Daly’s shot.
Town made one change to the side that earned a valuable point at Stockport a week ago with fit-again Anthony O’Connor returning in place of Warren Burrell, who dropped down to the bench.
The visitors were forced into one change with Arthur Read missing out through injury. The midfielder was replaced by Cameron McGeehan.
And it was McGeehan who almost put the visitors ahead in the opening minute when his speculative volley forced a reaction save from James Belshaw.
Noah Chilvers followed that moments later with a long range effort that deflected just over the Town bar.
Anthony O’Connor intercepted a loose ball on five minutes, with the play finding its way through to Jack Muldoon who turned smartly and fired at goal but his effort was too close to Owen Goodman.
The U’s had the better of the opening stages of the game, their purposeful and cohesive play belying the fact that they had four January arrivals in the starting line-up.
Alistair Smith then glanced a header at the near post which flashed across goal. Had his effort been on target the visitors may have grabbed an early lead.
Town woke from their early slumber on fifteen minutes when Derrick Abu, making his home debut, raced down the right and crossed into the danger area with the ball almost falling perfectly for George Thomson.
Smith then had another effort from distance which warmed the hands of Belshaw in the Town goal before Riley Harbottle was shown a yellow card for a hauling back Abraham Odoh, a tactical in every sense of the word that may have earned him a blue card.
With ten minutes remaining before the break Belshaw ensured Town remained on level terms with a wonderful save to turn Chilvers’s powerful effort over the bar for a corner.
McGeehan was the second name to go into the book just before the break for a late challenge on Stephen Dooley with the Town side knowing there was plenty of work to do as they headed down the tunnel.
There were served notice in the opening minutes of the second-half though when a neat move on the edge of the Town box saw Harry Anderson fire just beyond the far post.
Town responded well though and being to force a spell of pressure of their own. Abraham Odoh in particular was more incisive and he forced a succession of corners from the left-hand side.
Goodman was then shown a yellow card for taking too long to take a goal kick, not the first time he had invoked the referees ire in that regard.
Odoh then profited from a wonderful cross-field ball from Thomson, but with plenty of time at his disposal he delayed a fraction too long and his shot was blocked.
Both managers had been happy to trust the eleven they started with but with twenty minutes remaining Danny Cowley made a change that saw Jay Mingi replaced Jayden Fevrier, before making a further pir of substitutions with John Akinde and Matt Jay replacing McGeehan and Tom Hopper.
Smith then leapt higher than Belshaw from a corner kick but couldn’t direct his header on target as the game entered the final ten minutes.
Anderson delivered a low cross with five minutes remaining but Belshaw was alert to the task and smothered the danger.
The final minutes were played with a frustrating series of stoppages with neither side fashioning an opportunity to grab all three points until Muldoon struck to secure three vital points.