Five star performance as Town run riot at Colchester
James Norwood bagged a hat-trick as Town turned in an impressive performance in a friendly across the Essex border.
The striker put Town ahead from the penalty spot in the first-half and then volleyed in twice from close range after the break.
Kayden Jackson scored with his first touch after coming on as a half-time substitute and grabbed a second with an excellent finish as Blues opened up the home side with a flurry of attacking intent.
Emyr Huws continued his return from long term injury with a half hour run out on a night of positives for Blues.
Luke Garbutt had his first run out in a Town shirt having joined the Club on a season loan from Everton, while Colchester included former Blues Frank Nouble, Tom Eastman and Dean Gerken in their line up.
Gerken was picking the ball out of the net on 17 minutes, the ‘keeper given no chance by an excellent finish from the spot by Norwood after Danny Rowe was brought down in the box by Cameron James.
Tristan Nydam had a chance to make it two when he latched onto to Janoi Donacien’s cross but Colchester smothered the ball away from danger, Eastman then in the right place to prevent Norwood getting in as Andre Dozzell tried to open up the home side’s rearguard.
Donacien did his defensive duties well on the half hour when he stopped Nouble getting in, Tomas Holy holding firm from a Courtney Senior free-kick, while at the other end Idris El Mizouni dragged his shot wide after a darting run before Ben Stevenson brought the first-half to an end with a left footer over the bar for Colchester.
Town made three changes at the break with Jackson, Jordan Roberts and James Wilson entering the fray and Jackson’s first touch was to force the ball in from close range following Roberts’ cross.
Jackson was denied by Gerken’s feet as he burst through on goal after Town countered at pace, Huws replacing Dozzell and receiving a warm ovation from the travelling 2000 strong Blue Army.
Norwood grabbed his second and Town’s third with a volley after good work by Myles Kenlock down the left as Blues continued to carry a threat, Roberts’ vicious cross headed behind by Eastman as Norwood waited to pounce.
Jackson and Norwood combined on 71 minutes to conjure up a fourth for Town, the summer signing from Tranmere volleying in at the far post to complete his hat-trick.
A minute later Jackson showed a terrific touch to cut inside the Colchester defence and fire into the roof of the net after another break at pace from Blues to complete the scoring.
Colchester: Gerken (Ross 73), Vincent-Young (Collinge 73), Eastman (Kensdale 73), Sowunmi (Prosser 73), James (Ager 73), Lapslie (Comley 73), Stevenson (Pell 69), Senior (Fernandes 73), Gambin (Hasanally 73), Brown (Cowan-Hall 46), Nouble (Norris 73).
Town: Holy, Donacien, Chambers, Kenlock, Nydam (Wilson 46), Garbutt (Roberts 46), Rowe (Clements 85), Downes, Dozzell (Huws 61), El Mizouni (Jackson 46), Norwood (Dobra 77).