Colchester United 1 Hull City 3: Campbell's double blow to Colchester

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The Independent Football

When this fixture was postponed in January due to a waterlogged pitch Colchester may have envisaged celebrating a final floodlit match at Layer Road on a balmy spring evening. Instead the landmark fixture took place in near freezing temperatures, and the Essex club saw what little hope they have of avoiding relegation all but disappear into the night.

Hull were thankful for Fraizer Campbell's two first-half goals and a late breakaway strike from substitute Caleb Folan for the victory last night against a stubborn Colchester side who played the majority of the game with 10 men. "My main job is now to keep everyone sane," said Hull's manager, Phil Brown, after a win which moves them to within five points of the top of the Championship table.

Colchester had not kept a clean sheet in 35 games going into this encounter, so their task seemed difficult enough as it was against Hull side who had scored five against Southampton on Saturday. It was made even trickier when the referee, Pat Miller, showed Phil Ifil a straight red for his challenge on Campbell after 14 minutes.

Campbell – who is on loan from Manchester United and has just been called into England Under 21 squad – made the numerical advantage count within minutes. His opener was a poacher's effort, scrambling the ball in after Richard Garcia, back at his former club, saw his shot saved by Colchester goalkeeper Dean Gerken.

Campbell's 13th goal of the season came just after the half-hour when he got on the end of a flowing move featuring Dean Windass and Henrik Pederson. The 21-year-old's finish was devastating. "He's got an old head on young shoulders," Brown purred.

Colchester refused to give in, though, and gave themselves hope when Kevin Lisbie made the most of good work from Johnnie Jackson to score from 20 yards just before half-time.

But as Colchester pressed, Folan finished them off when he rounded Gerken and slotted in with three minutes remaining. "Everyone wants to manage in the top division, so why not with Hull?" Brown said. As the lights went out on Layer Road for the last time, Hull began to dream.

Colchester United (4-4-2): Gerken; Ifil, Heath, Virgo, White; Duguid (Balogh, 70), Hammond, Jackson, Wordsworth (Izzet, 62); Lisbie, Platt (Vernon, 72). Substitutes not used: Bankole (gk), Elito.

Hull City (4-4-2): Myhill; Ricketts, Turner, Clement, Dawson; Garcia, Ashbee, Marney, Pedersen (Hughes, 67); Campbell, Windass (Folan, 71). Substitutes not used: Tyler (gk), Walton, Okocha.

Referee: P Miller (Bedfordshire)