Colchester United 4 (Chambers 19, Akinde 26, Tchamadeu 41, Chilvers 63) Sutton United 1(Ajiboye 11)
Facing opposition in the lower reaches of Sky Bet League Two rather than the top six failed to provide a change in Sutton's fortunes as, despite scoring early through David Ajiboye, the defence was unable to handle the twin threat of John Akinde and Samson Tovide and Colchester had turned the game emphatically around by half time, adding a fourth goal just after the hour and easily closing out the victory that at the beginning of the afternoon they needed to ensure Football League survival, although Hartlepool's defeat by Crawley ultimately rendered it unnecessary.
For Sutton it was a fifth consecutive league defeat, and the priority now will be to ensure a top half finish with clubs just below U's closing the gap.
U's were missing Will Randall, with Enzio Boldewijn starting in the left midfield position, and he played a prominent role as Sutton were away to a fine start with a goal in the 11th minute, beating Luke Chambers to the ball and cutting in to the penalty area before setting up Donovan Wilson, who did well to get a low shot on target and although Tom Smith made a good save Ajiboye was left with a simple task to lift the ball in to the open goal.
Ajiboye tried his luck again soon afterwards, pulling his shot from twenty yards wide, but Colchester were level eight minutes after conceding as Arthur Read's corner from the right took a flick at the near post and was bundled in by Chambers at the far post. Ali Smith immediately replied with a low shot that was saved, but Colchester were soon on top and when Connor Hall's bouncing cross rebounded off Goodliffe, Akinde ignored the appeals for handball with a crisp volley in to the top corner.
Rose saved an awkward low shot from Ossama Ashley as Colchester kept up the pressure, but Sutton went close as Smith just failed to reach a Boldewijn free kick, and nearly levelled five minutes before half time as Smith battled well to find Wilson just inside the penalty area, but his shot on the turn deflected off a defender and bounced over off the back of the crossbar. As it was, Colchester took a huge step towards the points when Tovide proved too quick for Coby Rowe to race down the right, and when Rose pushed out his low angled shot Junior Tchamadeu was able to tap in to the empty net.
It should have been worse, as in the last action of the half Akinde, strolling back from an offside position as the ball was played through, was played onside as Goodliffe's attempt to cut the pass out resulted in it flicking off his head straight to the striker. A fourth goal looked a formality, but Goodliffe recovered to block one effort as Akinde tried unselfishly to set up Tovide, and Akinde then managed to hit the post from inside the six yard box.
Goodliffe, who had been a doubt before the game, didn't reappear for the second half, Josh Neufville coming on as Boldewijn dropped in to right back and Joe Kizzi went to centre back, but there were few moments when Sutton looked likely to recover the situation and just after the hour the Akinde/Tovide combination struck again. Akinde outjumped Rowe to head on Tom Smith's long free kick and Tovide, who will have much fonder memories of this game than the corresponding game last season when he was sent off for a goalline handball, managed to beat both Kizzi and Boldewijn to the ball before a neat backheel set up Noah Chilvers, who blasted the ball past the helpless Jack Rose. That killed any hopes of a Sutton comeback, Kizzi coming close to a consolation goal in injury time but heading just wide, and U's will head to relegated Rochdale on Saturday looking to turn the tide before the last day visit of Carlisle, the Cumbrians still very much involved in the promotion shake-up.
Sutton: J Rose, J Kizzi, R Milsom, C Rowe, B Goodliffe(sub J Neufville H-T), D Ajiboye, E Boldewijn, A Smith, O Bugiel, H Beautyman, D Wilson(sub L Angol 80) Subs n/u B House, S Hart, L Gambin, K Kouassi, M Dennis. Booked: Boldewijn
Colchester: T Smith, W Greenidge, F Kelleher, L Chambers, C Hall(sub J Fevrier 86), J Tchamadeu(sub T Dallison 80), O Ashley, A Read, J Akinde(sub T Hopper 72), N Chilvers(sub M Jay 72), S Tovide(sub A Newby 85). Subs n/u K O'Hara, M Marshall Miranda.
Referee: Carl Brook
Attendance: 3,851(275 away)