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Szmodics scores a hat-trick as U's youngsters lift Youth Alliance Cup
Sammie Szmodics (centre) is mobbed after putting U’s 3-1 up against Bradford City. Picture: Richard Blaxhall/Colchester United
Sammie Szmodics hit a superb hat-trick as Colchester United's youngsters lifted the Football League Youth Alliance Cup by beating Bradford City 4-2 at Valley Parade.
Macauley Bonne also scored as the U's completed a league and cup double, in front of a crowd of 2,714.
Colchester took a third-minute lead when Macauley Bonne scored from close range after Michael O’Donoghue pounced on James Pollard’s weak header in the area.
U’s goalkeeper James Bransgrove denied Dylan Mottley-Henry while Sam Wright’s header came back off a post from a corner, as Bradford responded well to the setback of going behind.
But Colchester doubled their lead six minutes beforte the break when Szmodics tapped in Bonne's pass at the far post.
Szmodics might easily have scored a third for the visitors a minute later when he sliced his shot with the goal at his mercy, after latching onto Jack Curtis’s through pass.
James King headed a gilt-edged chance over for Bradford shortly after half-time, before the hosts pulled a goal back when Oliver McBurnie tapped in Nathan Curtis's cross from close range.
Bransgrove parried Reece Webb-Foster's effort a minute later but Szmodics restored Colchester's two-goal cushion in the 65th minute when he superbly controlled Bonne's assist before firing a low shot past goalkeeper Elliott Barker.
And he completed his hat-trick in fine style when he ran from the halfway line and calmly went past Barker before slotting into the empty net.
McBurnie headed in a late second for Bradford but nothing could take the shine off Colchester's victory.
For a full match report, pictures and reaction to Colchester's Youth Alliance Cup Final at Bradford, see Wednesday's Daily Gazette.
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