Football News

Colchester United end long quarter-final wait in League Cup

By Harry Edwards

Published: 16:47, 30 October 2019

Colchester United provided the shock of the Carabao Cup third round when they knocked Tottenham Hotspur out after a penalty shootout.

The win earned the Essex side a clash with fellow League Two team Crawley Town in the fourth round, meaning there would be a rare spot in the quarter-finals up for grabs.

Not since 2012/13 has a team from League Two reached the quarter-finals, when Bradford shocked three Premier League sides to earn a spot in the final – though they would ultimately lose 5-0 to Swansea City.

Hosts Crawley took the lead after 20 minutes through Dannie Bulman, but Luke Norris pulled Colchester level just moments later. A Ngemba Luyambula own goal gave Colchester the advantage after half-time and Luke Gambin completed the win with just over 10 minutes remaining.

If Colchester’s season was already one to remember for their win over Tottenham Hotspur, John McGreal’s men have another reason to be celebrating. The Us are now in the quarter-finals of the League Cup for the first time since the 1974/75 season and just the second time in their history.

Then, they got past Oxford United, Southend United, Carlisle United and Southampton before being knocked out by eventual winners Aston Villa at the quarter-final stage. Since then, Colchester had never made it past the third round, while bowing out at the first round in each of the past eight seasons.

Similar fate has befallen them in the FA Cup, with the fifth round the closest they had come to a quarter-final in either of England’s two major cup competitions since 1974.

But the Us have enjoyed some success in the EFL Trophy, under its various guises, in the past 45 years. On five occasions they have reached at least the quarter-final stage of the southern section, going as far as the national final in 1996/97 though they would lose to Carlisle United on penalties.

A brief drop into non-league between 1990 and 1992 also saw Colchester win the FA Trophy, but should the Essex side reach the semi-final of the Carabao Cup it would represent their best ever finish in a major English cup competition.

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