Mark Perrow reports from Ashton GateAaron Wilbraham was the hero as City overturned a half-time deficit to maintain their 100 per cent record in Sky Bet League One.
City controlled the majority of the first period but went in at the interval trailing thanks to George Moncur’s ninth minute opener.
But Wilbraham equalised in the very first minute following the restart and headed home Wade Elliott’s corner midway through the second half to secure six points out of six for Steve Cotterill’s side.
Manager Cotterill reverted to the same starting line-up who performed so impressively in victory at Sheffield United on the opening weekend.
City started brightly enough, looking confident in league action for the first time on home soil, but fell behind inside nine minutes.
Freddie Sears started the move by chasing what looked like a lost cause, keeping the ball in down by the corner flag and finding right-back Sean Clohessy.
When Clohessy evaded the challenge of Greg Cunningham in the box, the United skipper showed admirable composure to lay the ball off for Moncur
to slot the opener into the bottom corner.
It was out of character with the start of a game which City seemed to have under control, and falling behind was not about to put them off their stride.
The first sign of a response saw Sam Baldock’s driven cross come through to Greg Cunningham only for the Irishman to scuff his shot, before Wilbraham met Elliott’s free kick with a firm header well smothered by keeper Sam Walker.
There were further opportunities when Baldock and Luke Freeman were left frustrated by final passes which did not reach them.
At the other end, Jabo Ibehre was playing the role of lone striker admirably, beating the offside trap on a couple of occasions to expose City’s high defensive line.
First his final ball let him down with Sears waiting for a cross, before Frank Fielding vacated his goal line to invite a tricky lob from Ibehre which just landed on the top of the net, much to the goalkeeper’s relief.
Cotterill would not have felt the need to make radical changes at the interval, but any fine tuning soon paid off as Wilbraham struck his second goal in two starts to equalise within a minute of the restart.
It was Freeman’s driving run from midfield which set the move in motion. When the former Stevenage man ran into his own player he had to revise his decision to shoot, instead sliding the ball wide for Cunningham, whose low cross was confidently steered in by Wilbraham
from eight yards.
But City initially struggled to kick on after hauling themselves level and it was not until Cotterill shuffled his pack for the first time 20 minutes into the second half that the Robins seemed to find an extra gear.
The introduction of Adam El-Abd and Marlon Pack from the bench saw Cotterill’s side switch from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2, and within seconds there was a moment of panic inside the Colchester box which resulted in a chance for Korey Smith blocked behind for a corner.
After Elliott’s initial delivery was diverted behind for a second, the veteran’s floated cross invited Walker to come and claim, only for the goalkeeper to be beaten to it by the tall figure of Wilbraham
whose header had just enough purchase to cross the line.
It had not been a performance quite in keeping with the standards set on the opening day, but the result, quite literally, was the same.