Stevenage hit for four by Colchester

Jabo Ibehre nets for Colchester against Stevenage

Jabo Ibehre nets for Colchester against Stevenage - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Stevenage slumped to a 4-0 away Boxing Day defeat to Colchester United.

Jabo Ibehre nets for Colchester against Stevenage

Jabo Ibehre nets for Colchester against Stevenage - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Three goals in the first 26 minutes put the hosts in full control and a fourth in the second half sent Boro to third from bottom of the Sky Bet League 1 table.

After a featureless first nine minutes, the U’s struck with the game’s first goal attempt – Blair Turgott’s simple tap-in.

Chris Day’s nightmare afternoon began in that 10th minute.

The Boro keeper ventured off his line to meet Brian Wilson’s teasing cross, but he spilled the ball while completely off-balance.

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There was no suggestion of a foul, and Turgott had the easy task of sweeping the loose ball into an empty net from six yards out.

It was the ideal Christmas present for the U’s, and for Turgott in particular, on what was the West Ham loanee’s home debut.

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Remarkably, Day blundered again just three minutes later to gift the U’s a second goal.

This time the Boro custodian attempted to punch away Luke Garbutt’s cross, only to miscue his effort straight to Jabo Ibehre.

The goal was again unguarded, although Ibehre’s finish was no tap-in – the big man executed a marvellous overhead kick, from 12 yards out, the ball soaring into the roof of the net to chalk up his sixth goal of the season.

And the U’s purple patch was further extended by a fine third from Craig Eastmond on 25 minutes.

Turgott started the move with a strong run and slick pass out to Dominic Vose on the left flank.

Vose cut inside his marker and teed up the advancing Turgott, whose goal-bound drive was diverted home by the onrushing Eastmond from point blank range.

The U’s were in dreamland, and keeper Day had to be at full stretch to deny the hosts a fourth goal in the 31st minute, launching himself to his right to claw away Garbutt’s free-kick.

Boro should have pulled a goal back in the 39th minute, only for leading scorer Francois Zoko to spurn a gilt-edged chance by heading wide with the goal at his mercy.

Three minutes into the second half and Ibehre burst onto Marcus Bean’s through ball, racing clear of his marker before blasting a 20-yarder over the bar.

Otherwise, the U’s were content to sit back and soak up some pressure, protecting their 3-0 advantage.

And when their defence was breached, on the hour mark, Sam Walker came to the rescue with a superb save from Luke Freeman’s goal-bound firecracker.

Walker was beaten in the 69th minute, but Luke Jones’ header from a corner thudded back off the bar, with team-mate Lucas Akins screwing the rebound wide from close in.

That summed up Stevenage’s afternoon, and Eastmond put the icing on the cake by side-footing home his second and the U’s fourth in the 77th minute.

COLCHESTER: Walker, Wilson (sub Olufemi, 79), Okuonghae, Eastman, Garbutt, Wright, Bean, Eastmond, Vose, Ibehre (sub Morrison, 78), Turgott (sub Watt, 72). Unused subs: Cousins, Dickson, Sanderson, Gilbey.

STEVENAGE: Day, Doughty, Chorley, Ashton, Jones, Smith, Morais, Heslop (sub Deacon, 68), Freeman, Andrade (sub Akins, 64), Zoko. Unused subs: Arnold, Wedgbury, Burrow, Tansey, Tounkara.

Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey)

Attendance: 3,919

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