Colchester United have edged closer to the Sky Bet League Two play-off places with a gritty 1-0 victory over Grimsby Town at the JobServe Community Stadium.
Troublesome forward Frank Nouble capitalised on a defensive error to slot home the only goal of the match midway through the first half.
A lively start saw Brennan Dickenson test Grimsby Town keeper James McKeown with a free-kick from the edge of the area before the the visitors somehow scrambled a Tom Eastman header off the line and away to safety following a corner kick.
Colchester United looked to be in the groove with Courtney Senior striking the post with a low shot across goal before Sam Saunders saw an effort deflect just wide.
John McGreal’s side should have taken the lead in the 23rd minute when striker Nouble teed up Senior but he could only fire his effort into the empty stand when he really should have tested McKeown with the goal at his mercy.
The U’s didn’t have much longer to wait for the opener. Some poor Grimsby Town defending saw the ball presented to Sammy Szmodics and he played in Nouble to place his shot beyond McKeown into the net when completely unmarked in the box.
Szmodics then saw a low effort palmed away by McKeown before full-back Ryan Jackson really should have made it 2-0 four minutes before the interval when he erratically lashed a shot high and wide when presented with a great opportunity to score.
The home side went close to adding to their lead shortly after the restart when defender Frankie Kent’s impressive overhead kick was headed off the line by a Grimsby Town defender.
Dangerous moments were few and far between for the visitors. Left-back Reece Hall-Johnson delivered a dangerous ball across the six yard box just after the hour which forced home keeper Dillon Barnes into action but there was no Grimsby Town player on-hand to trouble the Colchester United goal with the rebound.
The hosts kept pushing for that decisive second goal and Szmodics saw an effort blocked by McKeown when one-on-one before substitute Abobaker Eisa’s vicious shot brushed the side-netting.
Grimsby Town had veteran defender Danny Collins dismissed in stoppage time for a second bookable offence as the home side went on to collect what could prove to be a vital three points courtesy of a deserved 1-0 win.