MERRY Christmas to all Gazette readers!

Here are six memorable past Colchester United Boxing Day clashes to whet the appetite, ahead of the U's game at Gillingham.

1 BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION 4 COLCHESTER UNITED 4 - 1997

THERE were goals galore for U's and Brighton fans to feast on after both teams served up a festive cracker.

Colchester raced into 3-0 half-time lead at a game played at Gillingham FC.

Two goals from Isaiah Rankin and another from Tony Adcock put the U's in command.

But a quick-fire hat-trick from Paul Emblen turned the game around and levelled things up for the hosts.

Scott Stamps then struck for Colchester with 17 minutes remaining and it looked like that might be the winner.

But Jeff Minton's 86th-minute penalty rescued a point for the Seagulls, in an eight-goal thriller.

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2 SOUTHEND UNITED 1 COLCHESTER UNITED 2 - 2009

COLCHESTER United enjoyed a Christmas cracker after winning at Roots Hall in front of their jubilant fans.

Phil Ifil gave the U's the lead just after half-time, before Anthony Wordsworth (pictured above) doubled it just before the hour.

Lee Barnard pulled a goal back for the home side with 14 minutes remaining, but it was not enough to prevent Colchester's win.

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3 LEYTON ORIENT 1 COLCHESTER UNITED 3 - 2019

COLCHESTER United delivered a knockout punch on Boxing Day after winning 3-1 at Leyton Orient.

Theo Robinson (pictured above) scored twice and captain-for-the-day Harry Pell also netted in the victory, at Brisbane Road.

The win helped Colchester move up to fourth in League Two.

Gazette:

4 CRAWLEY TOWN 0 COLCHESTER UNITED 2 - 2017

GOALS from Mikael Mandron (pictured above) and Sammie Szmodics helped Colchester United seal victory at Broadfield Stadium and lift them up to fifth in the League Two table.

Mandron gave Colchester a fourth-minute lead when he pounced on Cedric Evina's error in the Crawley area to fire home.

And Szmodics made it 2-0 with his 12th goal of the season, just before the hour mark.

U's boss John McGreal said: “It was an excellent away performance.

“I think it could have been a bit more clinical, with the opportunities that we had.

“But I thought from the first minute all the way through, there was a composure about the boys."

Gazette:

5 COLCHESTER UNITED 4 STEVENAGE 0 - 2013

CRAIG Eastmond (pictured above) scored twice as Colchester eased to victory over relegation-threatened Stevenage.

Blair Turgott netted from close range to give the U's the lead early in the first half before Jabo Ibehre netted a second for the hosts.

Eastmond scored a third soon after before bagging another goal, to wrap up Colchester's win.

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6 LUTON TOWN 0 COLCHESTER UNITED 1 - 2016

CRAIG Slater (pictured above) struck a late winner to seal Colchester United an excellent 1-0 win at promotion-chasing Luton Town.

Slater drilled a sweet low shot past Luton keeper Christian Walton to secure the U's a fine victory at Kenilworth Road and extend their unbeaten run to five matches in League Two.

It meant Colchester had taken 13 points from a possible 15 in their last five fixtures.