Joe Dunne felt his Colchester United side were good value for their 1-0 win over Preston North End.

Freddie Sears’ strike in the opening stages of the second half helped the U’s claim their third victory in four matches and boost their hopes of avoiding relegation.

Dunne said: “In this league, you have to earn the right to play football and we tried to do that, on what is a difficult pitch because of the weather we’ve had.

“I thought we played the first half well and we hit the post and got into some good situations.

“Preston threw everything at us and we defended exceptionally well and knew what was coming.

“There was a good firm base from which to attack with and when we got opportunities, I thought we would take them.

“The first goal has been key over a lot of the games we’ve been involved in and I think once we scored it, you could see the confidence lift.

“We have good quality, attacking players and we’re a threat.

“It was a great move between the team for our goal – we slipped the back four, the keeper made a good save but luckily, Freddie was following up.”

For a full match report, pictures and more reaction to Colchester’s win over Preston, see Monday’s Gazette.