Colchester United 0
Wolves (Griffiths-pen 20, 48, Doyle 55)
A Leigh Griffiths double and a Kevin Doyle strike saw Wolves celebrate their first ever visit to Colchester’s Weston Homes Community Stadium with a comfortable 3-0 win to maintain their challenge on the top two in League One.
Kenny Jackett made three changes to his side as new signing James Henry made his debut on the right, Richard Stearman returned in the left-back position and there was a start for Kevin Doyle.
Out from the team that had beaten Sheffield United were Björn Sigurdarson who was named as a substitute, Bakary Sako and Dave Edwards. Scott Golbourne played on the left of midfield.
Wolves kicked off attacking the end of the ground that housed over 2,000 travelling supporters and there was an opening for the visitors with less than two minutes on the clock as Doyle ran onto a Griffiths cross but was dispossessed by Magnus Okuonghae as he ran into the United box.
Colchester replied with an attack that saw Stearman head behind to clear but Samuel Ricketts was on hand to head clear Luke Garbutt’s corner.
Home keeper Sam Walker had little difficulty in taking a long-range effort from Ricketts before Alex Gilbey fired wide from 22-yards.
Colchester were inches away from taking a 16th minute lead as Matt Taylor headed just wide after Garbutt had planted a free-kick into the Wanderers area.
Henry was booked for a foul on Jeffrey Monakana and seconds later it took a splendid save from Carl Ikeme to keep out a first time David Wright shot from the edge of the area.
But in the 20th minute Wolves were ahead. There were no protests from the home players as Matt Doherty was tripped by Monakana as he jinked into the box and although Walker guessed correctly as he dived to his left, Griffiths’s spot kick gave him little chance of saving.
Doherty almost got his name on the scoresheet after a Golbourne cross was headed down in the box. Doherty was on the edge of the six-yard box as he tried to hook the ball home but his effort hit a defender and the ball ballooned over the bar.
All the threats by this time were coming from Wolves and Danny Batth was only just wide with a header following another cross from Golbourne.
Shortly before the interval, Eastmond tripped Doyle who was homing in on goal. After the Colchester man had been shown the yellow card, Henry’s free-kick from 25-yards drifted wide of the mark.
Half-Time: Colchester 0 Wolves 1
Just three minutes after the resumption Griffiths notched his second goal to double his side’s advantage. Doherty fired in a low cross from the right and Griffiths ran in to convert with a right foot shot from close quarters (pictured).
The away fans were in good voice and their support was notched up another level as Doyle made it three in the55th minute as he ran onto Henry’s ball into the box and shot past Walker.
Colchester made a double switch with Marcus Bean and Sammy Szmodics replacing Wright and Monakana respectively.
Griffiths looked on to complete his hat-trick in the 65th minute as he ran onto a lovely chip into the box from Doyle, but the Scottish striker’s header was too high.
At the other end, Doherty, who was enjoying a fine game, just managed to clear a Garbutt cross that looked destined for Jabo Ibehre who left the field shortly afterwards to be replaced by Freddie Padapo.
Garbutt was booked for a foul on Jack Price and then Sigurdarson went on for the final ten minutes in place of Griffiths.
Five minutes from time Colchester were awarded a controversial penalty when Bean collided with Ikeme after the keeper had punched out a Freddie Sears shot. Ikeme was booked but justice was done when he made a tremendous save from Sears’s spot kick.
David Davis for Doyle, and Anthony Forde for Henry, were late changes to the Wolves line up.
Colchester: Walker, Wright (Bean 56), Okuonghae, Eastmond, Sears, Monakana (Szmodics 57), Ibehre (Padapo 75), Wilson, Gilbey, Garbutt, Taylor.
Unused subs: Sanderson, Phillips, Hubble, Sendles-White.
Bookings: Eastmond 41 – foul), Gilbey 76 – foul).
Wolves: Ikeme, Doherty, Stearman, McDonald, Batth, Ricketts, Henry (Forde 90+1), Price, Griffiths (Sigurdarson 80), Doyle (Davis 88), Golbourne.
Unused subs: Elokobi, Forde, Cassidy, McCarey, Foley.
Bookings: Henry (17 – foul), Ikeme (85 – foul).
Referee: T. Robinson.
Attendance: 7,295 (2,228 away supporters).