Jones seals hard-fought win for Crawley

Mike Jones goes past the keeper to score Crawley's winner (Photo by Liz Finlayson)

Mike Jones scores Crawley's winner (Photo by Liz Finlayson)

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Mike Jones was the unlikely match-winner as Crawley ground out a 1-0 victory over Colchester United at the Checkatrade.com Stadium.

Jones scored his first league goal since the opening day of the season after 41 minutes to settle an otherwise forgettable affair.

Colchester came close to an equaliser in the second half but both Sanchez Watt and Dominic Vose were denied by the woodwork.

It was hardly a vintage performance by Reds but the result lifted them two places to 14th in League One and ended a run of three games without a win.

Crawley boss John Gregory restored top scorer Matt Tubbs to the starting line-up and the striker had the first effort on goal, firing high and wide from 20 yards after being put away by a Josh Simpson header.

Sam Walker was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the first half and was well placed to deal comfortably with efforts from Billy Clarke and Mike Jones.

Jones has not scored a league goal since the opening day of the season and squandered another chance when he blasted wide from a difficult angle after good play from Simpson.

The former Bury midfielder did get his name on the scoresheet at last as he gave Reds the lead four minutes before the interval.

Kyle McFadzean played the ball into Clarke’s feet who had time to turn a chip a delightful ball over the defence which Jones ran on to before rounding Walker and slotting into the empty net.

Colchester had plenty of the ball but rarely threatened in the first half, Freddie Sears having their best effort when he sent a low shot wide from 22 yards.

For the second match in a row Crawley found themselves under pressure at the start of the second half as the visitors stepped up a gear.

Twice Colchester were denied an equaliser by the woodwork as Sanchez Watt’s header came back off the bar and then substitute Dominic Vose saw his 25-yard strike hit a post with Paul Jones well beaten on both occasions.

Reds struggled to create much in the second half with their best chance falling to Simpson only for his effort to be blocked.

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