In-form Colchester overcame the fatigue of their midweek Carabao Cup exertions to pull off a deserved 3-2 win at Mansfield Town which delighted boss John McGreal.
The U’s have only lost three of their last 19 games and clinched a mouthwatering Carabao Cup quarter-final at Manchester United on Tuesday.
But they showed no signs of it catching up with them at Mansfield and McGreal said: “It couldn’t have been any better.
“I can’t credit the boys enough. They have been excellent. Our game management was good.
“We are going from strength to strength.
“It’s nice to score late goals and we are now able to win a game in the second half which is a lovely habit to get hold of.
“We did it the other night. We were ahead today but they clawed it back before half-time. So it was good to see us go again.
“It’s been a tough week but I thought some of our play was very good today.”
Brandon Comley had blasted United in front after eight minutes with a 30-yard scorcher only for Ryan Sweeney to level right on half-time when a corner dropped to him at the back post.
But, after home keeper Conrad Logan had superbly saved Frank Nouble’s 48th-minute penalty after Mal Benning had tripped Kwame Poku, United were back ahead with 12 minutes to go as Courtney Senior beat two men and lifted a finish over Logan.
Stags were punished for failing to clear Cohen Bramall’s low ball when sub Luke Gambin made it 3-1 nine minutes later, Omari Sterling-James’ fine finish from CJ Hamilton’s low cross proving only a consolation on 90 minutes.
Mansfield boss John Dempster again lamented his side’s inconsistent home form, saying: “We’ve scored two goals at home and lost a football match and that’s happened too many times this season.
“When we correct our home form and maintain our away form we will be fine.
“Our away form is probably top five but our home form’s been poor. You can feel the frustration among the supporters.
“We need to be big enough and brave enough and show courage to keep getting on the ball and change our home form around.
“If we do that we will start climbing the table. We’ve had a brilliant October and I credited the players before the game. But we’ve parked that and we now want a good November.
“It hasn’t started the way we’d wanted but that doesn’t mean we can’t go on and have a good month.
“I think Colchester are one of the better teams we’ve seen this season and we didn’t deserve anything.”