After losing 2-0 and 4-0 in previous matches, optimism was in short supply at the Keepmoat for Darren Ferguson’s first home game in charge, but anyone expecting a Halloween horror show was sorely disappointed. Rovers didn’t miss a trick and duly gave the fans a treat.
Resplendent in pumpkin-orange, Colchester started the brightest, forcing good saves from both Thorsten Stuckmann and the post, with Mitchell Lund having to be at his best to cope with Colchester’s ever-lively winger Callum Harriott.
Rovers gradually grew in stature, an excellent Harry Middleton replacing Richie Wellens as the midfield pivot, with new loanee Conor Grant, impressive from the off, taking over all set-piece duties with refreshing quality. His credentials were further proven on 40 minutes when he found space 25 yards out and unleashed a left-foot screamer into the far corner, giving Rovers a 1-0 lead at the break.
The momentum stayed with Rovers in the second half, Colchester’s defence looking spooked as James Coppinger and Nathan Tyson caused all sorts of problems, ultimately without reward.
Rovers nearly scripted their own downfall on 64 minutes when an Andy Butler miscue crept over the bar for a Colchester corner. However, a quick clearance led to a superb counter attack, Coppinger ghosting through Colchester’s zombie-like defences before perfectly laying off for Andy Williams to slot home a second.
To their credit, Colchester fought back well, again forcing more excellent work from Stuckmann, but Rovers defence shored up and the result was never in any grave danger.