Albion 2 Colchester 0.

It was not exactly poetry in motion at Withdean last night but, against a team with a Wordsworth in their ranks, Albion did enough to increase their lead at the top of League One to six points.

For that they can thank a Spaniard heeding the famous words of Rudyard Kipling and a new signing well-versed in catching the eye.

Inigo Calderon suffered disaster in the previous night game at Withdean against Charlton at Christmas.

An early red card left the right-back crestfallen but this time it was triumph as he slotted the Seagulls ahead with his fifth goal of the season.

It was an uncomfortable advantage until Gus Poyet brought on recent signing Craig Noone.

The white-booted winger delivered the knockout blow which clinched Albion’s fourth home win in succession and puts them in a commanding position at the head of affairs.

Poyet reacted to Saturday’s defeat at Bournemouth with three changes.

Glenn Murray, Gary Dicker and Radostin Kishishev, brought on simultaneously in the second half against The Cherries in the vain pursuit of an equaliser, all started this time.

Craig Noone, Matt Sparrow and Ashley Barnes gave way to form part of a bench with a very attacking feel.

Colchester chief John Ward made a couple of amendments to the team which picked up a useful point in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Huddersfield.

John White was preferred to Lee Beevers at right-back and Ian Henderson took over from Ashley Vincent on the right wing.

It was not only the personnel which changed for the Seagulls. There was a tactical adjustment by Poyet as well, matching up the 4-3-3 formation used regularly by the visitors.

Elliott Bennett started on the right and Chris Wood on the left but the Albion midfielders and forwards are so interchangeable that it is difficult for opponents to pin them down.

Poyet’s main gripe with Saturday’s performance was that his team were too laborious with the passing game which has become their trademark.

The message certainly got through in the early stages. Albion began brightly and at a higher tempo.

Wood almost continued his rich vein of goal-scoring form in the fourth minute with an unchallenged header from Bennett’s corner which keeper Ben Williams did well to keep out.

Williams also thwarted the on-loan West Brom striker’s follow-up from an acute angle to deny the Seagulls the swift breakthrough which would have altered the pattern of the contest.

Instead, Colchester gradually settled down and, rather than merely sitting back, showed some adventure.

David Mooney was particularly menacing. His effort from a tight angle had to be pushed away one-handed by Casper Ankergren. Mooney, on-loan from Reading also had a snapshot on the turn from 25 yards which was close enough to the target to have Albion’s Danish custodian diving across his line.

Murray’s absence from the starting line-up at Bournemouth provoked considerable debate. His recall coincided with his 100th League appearance for the club, which threatened to be blemished when he tangled with Anthony Wordsworth.

The incident occurred right in front of the linesman, who saw nothing untoward, but referee Graham Scott did.

Dave Kitson was sent off and seven of his Portsmouth team-mates booked when Scott took charge of their recent FA Cup exit at Withdean.

The way the referee dashed over to the incident initially suggested heavier punishment for Murray than just the yellow card he was shown.

The first half promised to peter out into a somewhat uneventful stalemate until Albion lifted their game again approaching the interval.

The unfortunate Wood hit a post with a sprawling header from a delicious cross by Inigo Calderon, while Bennett was inches wide with a free-kick from 25 yards.

The flurry of openings continued. Murray, cutting inside from Liam Bridcutt’s pass had a low drive shovelled behind by Williams and Wood bulldozed his way through the heart of the Colchester defence, only to then fire over the bar.

In seemed as if Colchester would survive but they were undone deep into first-half injury time. Murray, with his back to goal deep inside the box, fed Calderon for a precise finish from 12 yards.

There is never a bad time to score a goal but it was a particularly good moment for Calderon to strike and deflating for the visitors, so near to parity at the midway point of the contest.

Although Huddersfield are the only team to have come from behind to beat Albion, they have been pegged back from a narrow advantage on enough occasions this season to be wary.

Mooney, joined by the bustling Kayode Odejayi, was convinced he should have been awarded a penalty when Gordon Greer challenged him for a cross at the near post but referee Scott was unmoved.

Colchester had further optimistic appeals for a spot kick ignored when Andrew Bond, latching on to a stray pass from Greer, claimed that Marcos Painter blocked his shot with his hands.

Albion needed the cushion of a second goal and Noone provided it stylishly 13 minutes from time, shortly after replacing the injured Kishishev.

The former Plymouth winger evaded a couple of challenges before planting a right-foot shot beyond Williams. Noone had offered glimpses of his ability in three previous appearances since his £300,000 switch from Argyle at the beginning of the month. Both Poyet and Noone’s colleagues have been advocating there was a lot more to come from him. Sealing a precious three points to stretch Albion’s lead at the top vindicated their faith.

Colchester, the stuffing finally knocked out of them, were reduced to ten men in the closing stages, central defender Pat Baldwin collecting a second yellow card for a challenge on Dicker.

Albion (4-3-3): Ankergren; Calderon, Greer, El-Abd, Painter; Bridcutt, Kishishev (Noone, 74), Dicker; Bennett, Murray (Sandaza, 89), Wood (Barnes, 70).

Subs not used: Brezovan, Elphick, Sparrow, Holroyd.

Scorers: Calderon (45), Noone (77).

Yellow card: Murray (25) unsporting behaviour.

Colchester United: (4-3-3): Williams: White, Heath, Baldwin, Coker; Bond, Izzet (Gillespie, 70), Perkins; Henderson (Odejayi, 59), Mooney (Vilhjalmsson, 83), Wordsworth.

Subs not used: Beevers, Vincent, Cousins, James.

Yellow cards: Baldwin (17) kicking the ball away, White (38) foul.

Red card: Baldwin (17) kicking ball away & (85) foul.

Referee: Mr Graham Scott (Oxfordshire).

Attendance: 6,798 (124 Colchester).

Next match: Watford v Albion, FA Cup fourth round, Saturday (3pm).

Entertainment: 3 out of 5