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Stalemate at the Proact Stadium with Eastman and Eastwood honours even 15:39 - Dec 31 with 481 viewsdurham_exile

The U’s gave a curate’s egg performance at the Proact Stadium yesterday and dropped two points in their quest for automatic promotion. With 21 games to play the U’s must understand that they cannot afford first half profligacy in front of goal and then fail to push for the winner late on.

The journey down from Durham (117 miles) was slow with delays on the A66, A1(M), M18 and M1 but we did arrive safely and managed to take our seats just as the game kicked off.

The pitch was in very good condition, the temperature was 10 degrees Celsius, but there was a very strong wind (causing a wind chill factor) blowing South West to North East diagonally across the pitch and which caused problems for both teams when they were playing with the wind. Neither team fully came to terms with the need for caution when playing long balls forward, which were invariably overhit and either went through to the keeper or out for a goal kick.

It was very good to see Gerry and Wessex who had already taken their seats towards the front of the area allocated for the Away supporters. The club website allocates the North Stand for the travelling hoards but yesterday we were corralled into the Community East Stand and out of a crowd of 5,537 there were 257 of the faithful, all in good voice throughout the game.

Colchester lined up 4,3,3 and were unchanged for the fourth successive match:

Walker

Jackson Eastman Kent Vincent-Young

Lapslie Comley Reid

Wright Mandron Szmodics

Subs:
Gilmartin Hanlan Slater Odelusi Kpekawa Murray Guthrie

Chesterfield were fielding an on-loan Goalkeeper Jake (aka Clint) Eastwood who was clearly feeling lucky because the punk made two impressive saves from Szmodics and Wright. In fairness to Chesterfield Walker was also called upon to make two saves, a particularly agile one when it seemed that Rowley would reach the ball first and head it into the Colchester net, but big Sam grasped the ball from his head, for once commanding his six-yard box as befits a 7-foot-tall keeper!

Ryan Inniss was not fit to appear even on the bench and so JM played a back four with the impressive Kent, Eastman, plus Jackson and Vincent-Young who both pushed forward at every opportunity. In fact Frankie Kent was my MotM.

What JM must consider is that if playing wing backs (Jackson and Vincent-Young) with Wright and Reid further forward it leaves only Lapslie and Comley as conventional central midfield players. There were occasions yesterday when we clearly missed more midfield cover which would have aided Mandron and Szmodics.

In the first half with Colchester attacking with the wind and our position in the East stand giving us the perfect vantage point to view the right wing build up play there were at least half a dozen crosses which went awry after a positive build up involving Jackson, Lapslie, Wright and or Comley.

After 13 minutes a Jackson cross found Szmodics who tried to pass the ball into the net and Eastwood made a smart save diving to his left. Sadly, other crosses were under hit and failed to reach their intended target.

Now I was not Mandron’s biggest fan when he first started to play for the U’s, but he has matured into a more confident performer. His hold up play, and mobility are far superior now, but he still fails to strike more shots towards the goal. That is something that he must continue to work on.

Half time arrived with the U’s having dominated large period of the game but without pressing home their advantage and for Chesterfield apart form Rowley’s attempted header their left back Jerome Binnon-Williams had tried a couple of sighters.

Now the organisation of catering staff was simply abysmal. With over 250 Colchester supporters the food kiosk had only one partition open and only two staff serving. Result, we missed the start of the second half whilst queuing for the pie and coffee and tea. Strangely no one complained but then we are a nation well versed in queues and queuing. Incidentally the pie although slightly dry had plenty of steak filling and the potato was good. The Pastry was not too stodgy. The Coffee needed three milks but otherwise was ok.

No personnel changes at half time and as we re-entered the pitch side we saw Chesterfield’s best effort whistle past the post from Binnon-Williams.

After 70 minutes Szmodics let fly from distance, but his effort was wide. He was then replaced by Sean Murray after 74 minutes. Our attacking intent was then diminished overtly, and it seemed that JM was protecting what he already had.

After 83 minutes Kurtis Guthrie appeared after chanting from the faithful. Sadly, JM removed Mandron from the fray to accommodate him. I would have liked to have seen both target men up front in an attempt to secure all three points.

Now JM has a decision to make; either Guthrie is fit or not. If so then he should be given more than 6 or 8 minutes per game. Yesterday he was a lucky boy to remain on the field after a scything tackle only three minutes after coming on. Clearly frustration lack of match fitness or something else led to this challenge. Also, Kurtis get your contract signed and quick. We don’t want this matter dragging out.

The last player, also a striker, who only received occasional outings was Macca Bonne and he has of course moved to pastures new and has scored 13 goals for the O’s this season.

We want Guthrie back and we want him playing perhaps at least 45 minutes until he is fully match fit. Cambridge would be a good introduction for the tall striker.

That brings us to the forgotten man. Craig Slater who has warmed more benches than I have had hot dinners. Is he ever going to play again, or has he fallen out of favour.

A mention also of the Referee Sebastian Stockbridge, who I thought had a very good game. He demonstrated authority without the need to be card happy and he was fair to both sides, something which I haven’t seen too much of this season.

After the game JM thought that we were lacking a cutting edge and that heavy travelling had an impact on the performance. With two winnable games both at home, the players should be in their ice baths preparing for 6 more home points.

He has hinted at changes. Hopefully Inniss will be back, so that we can play 3 at the back. Bring Guthrie into the team with Mandron and play Szmodics just behind them. Think about Murray starting with Comley in the CM roles to give us an edge there.
JM don’t be afraid to play Slater for at least some of the game minutes to introduce fresh legs.

The Cambridge game will be a feisty derby, they are on the fringes of the promotion picture with 36 points and fresh from a home win against the Railwaymen. I would expect 6,000 at the WHCS to watch this one.

Assuming Inniss is fit then we need to go with something along these lines:

Walker

Eastman Inniss Kent

Jackson Comley Murray Lapslie

Szmodics

Mandron Guthrie

Subs:
Gilmartin Slater Kpekawa Hanlan Reid Vincent-Young Wright

Try Hanlan if Guthrie is not considered fit for a full 45 minutes.

Current league table:
Luton 25 51
Notts Co 25 47
Lincoln 25 43
Exeter 24 42
Coventry 25 41
Wycombe 25 40
Accrington 24 40
COL U 25 40
Mansfield 25 40

Clearly this is going to be a close affair, but with most teams having 21 games to play, there are still plenty of points to play for. It is crucial that we do not allow a gap to appear between the top three and the pack. Luton showed they are fallible at Vale Park yesterday and the Valiants must be the number one form side at present. New Years Day sees Luton play at home to Lincoln and Notts Co v Port Vale both of which are interesting games.

Time for the big players to show up tomorrow and get this promotion bandwagon back on track.

Happy New Year.

Up the U’s


Durham_exile

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Stalemate at the Proact Stadium with Eastman and Eastwood honours even on 15:58 - Dec 31 with 474 viewsgerry_us

Brilliant summary Durham. I totally agree with your comments on Guthrie. Either he is fit or he isn't. To expect him to come on for the last five minutes after such a break is madness. He obviously cannot expect to get the pace of the game and in truth was lucky not to get a red card for a woefully late tackle, all caused by trying to make an impression in the limited time he had. IF he is fit then play him from the start and give him 70 minutes, not five as Macca Bonne was ever allowed.
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Stalemate at the Proact Stadium with Eastman and Eastwood honours even on 14:43 - Jan 1 with 414 viewsdurham_exile

JM makes two changes for today's Derby game

Cole Kpekawa comes in and Sean Murray starts.

Up the U's

Durham_exile

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Stalemate at the Proact Stadium with Eastman and Eastwood honours even on 15:25 - Jan 1 with 406 viewsdurham_exile

Stalemate at the Proact Stadium with Eastman and Eastwood honours even on 14:43 - Jan 1 by durham_exile

JM makes two changes for today's Derby game

Cole Kpekawa comes in and Sean Murray starts.

Up the U's


We need a goal come on the U's

Durham_exile

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Stalemate at the Proact Stadium with Eastman and Eastwood honours even on 16:14 - Jan 1 with 399 viewsdurham_exile

Stalemate at the Proact Stadium with Eastman and Eastwood honours even on 15:25 - Jan 1 by durham_exile

We need a goal come on the U's


Still need a goal, can we please give Guthrie some proper game time instead of the last 5 minutes.

Come on the U's

Durham_exile

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Stalemate at the Proact Stadium with Eastman and Eastwood honours even on 16:34 - Jan 1 with 392 viewsgerry_us

Stalemate at the Proact Stadium with Eastman and Eastwood honours even on 16:14 - Jan 1 by durham_exile

Still need a goal, can we please give Guthrie some proper game time instead of the last 5 minutes.

Come on the U's


Did you phone JM like I suggested?
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Stalemate at the Proact Stadium with Eastman and Eastwood honours even on 16:56 - Jan 1 with 385 viewsdurham_exile

Stalemate at the Proact Stadium with Eastman and Eastwood honours even on 16:34 - Jan 1 by gerry_us

Did you phone JM like I suggested?


Yes and he reversed the charges!!!

Two more points dropped today.

Come on the U's

Durham_exile

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Stalemate at the Proact Stadium with Eastman and Eastwood honours even on 17:11 - Jan 1 with 380 viewsgerry_us

Stalemate at the Proact Stadium with Eastman and Eastwood honours even on 16:56 - Jan 1 by durham_exile

Yes and he reversed the charges!!!

Two more points dropped today.

Come on the U's


Defence tightened up
Attack tightened up as well
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Stalemate at the Proact Stadium with Eastman and Eastwood honours even on 17:46 - Jan 1 with 368 viewsdurham_exile

Stalemate at the Proact Stadium with Eastman and Eastwood honours even on 17:11 - Jan 1 by gerry_us

Defence tightened up
Attack tightened up as well


Gerry we need Inness back JM played 5 at the back today.

Still another point and clean sheet.

Up the U's

Durham_exile

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Stalemate at the Proact Stadium with Eastman and Eastwood honours even on 16:46 - Jan 2 with 283 viewsbwildered

Thought we defend very well at the back in the second half, would have been a good backs to the wall performance if we were away from home sadly .
Looked better with Comley coming on so played with two in the hole , with KVY playing has left side midfield instead of Reid, but dropping back has and when required .
Need to win these games ugly if necessary .

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