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Latics v Super U's - Durham's view 21:04 - Sep 23 with 496 viewsdurham_exile

So, another Away draw this time 3-3, the Super U’s remain unbeaten away from the JobServe Community Stadium, we remain 4th in the table, what’s not to like.

Unfortunately, we have lost ground on the top three despite picking up another useful point in a pulsating game at Boundary Park.

Yesterday I, together with my sons witnessed a fourth Away draw which though keeping us in contention, should have seen all three points return to North Essex. Forget about the 60/40 possession in favour of Bunn’s Latics or the 18 shots to 9, although we had 6 on target to their 7. It is all about game management. More of that later.

After previous trials and tribulations getting to Nottingham, Mansfield and Tranmere, I left nothing to chance avoiding the A66, M6 route and opted for the A1(M), M1 and M62 to Oldham which proved to be a wise move and we arrived at Boundary Park in very good time.

Now the impressive new North Stand is open (known as the Joe Royle stand) even though the car park is still akin to a demilitarised zone. The other major change is that Away supporters are now situated in the Chaddy end of the ground behind the goal, whereas previously we have sat in the Jimmy Frizzell stand at the opposite end of the ground. The Chaddy end is tired and has stanchions which threaten to obstruct the view. The refreshments area is poorly situated, and they ran out of Pies at half time. Although we were able to enjoy a cup of warm tea.

The pitch was looking good and the weather was dry and 11C. About the best you could hope for at Oldham in September.

Both sets of supporters had percussion amongst them and there was clearly a contest to see who could increase the decibel limit to that of a jumbo jet.

JMc (from now on I will include the Mc because McGreal has those initials on his Colchester United official clothing.) In addition to the new away shirts (camo style) and very wearable, I was sporting my new Colchester Jacket the "Calgary" with the French President’s name “Macron” on the right-hand side and the Colchester badge on the left side. Seriously the clothing is very good quality and looks impressive, not that I am a fashion guru as my son’s will testify.

JMc had confirmed an unchanged line up and substitutes which meant the starting XI was as follows:

Barnes

Jackson Prosser Kent Vincent-Young

Pell Comley Dickenson

Nouble Szmodics

Norris

Subs:
Ross Gondoh Eastman Senior Collins Wright Mandron

Oldham manager Bunn favoured lots of possession with most forward moves started by Dan Gardner who sprayed passes right and left, often overhitting the ball.

Colchester were content to soak up this possession football and then counter quickly through Comley, Pell or Dickenson.

Callum Lang saw plenty of the ball in the first half and after 11 minutes he broke down the right wing, as he approached the left-hand edge of the penalty area (as the faithful viewed it) he was tackled by Dillon Barnes who (in my view) had to come out of the penalty area and make the challenge. The partisan home support in the Joe Royle stand bayed fro a red card, but Mr Backhouse (rightly) only awarded a yellow card.

The resultant free kick was blasted high, wide and not very handsome. Justice. The home fans were still moaning when Colchester won a corner which as normal was delivered effectively by Dickenson and Luke Norris stabbed the ball home from 6 yards out. Cue great celebration from the faithful. The U’s were good value for the lead. Game management is important, all the possession in the world is not effective if you fail to convert potential chances and Colchester taught Oldham a lesson in game management.

Luke Norris is the striker that we have been looking for over the past 10 seasons (6 goals already this season). He is getting fitter every game, he is strong, muscular and has a keen eye for goal and is never afraid to strike the ball from distance. JMc must however decide where he is going to play Frank Nouble. The powerful front man is frankly lost playing wide right and having to track back when there is no need for him to really do so. Playing four at the back, Ryan Jackson takes care of the left-wing threat, whilst Brandon Comley is the defensive midfield player covering behind the adventurous Pell.

With enough strikers on the books to play a genuine two up front, Nouble and Norris would complement each other very well. I know that JMc is cautious, but we are never better than when attacking this season.

The half continued in similar vein with Colchester content to allow the Latics to boss possession in the knowledge that they could win the ball back and counter through the aforementioned Pell, Comley and the strikers.

The interval arrived, and the air of a job well done was circulating amongst the faithful. The U’s were deservedly in front and frankly comfortable. No changes for either side at half time and with the camouflage shirts attacking the Chaddy end second half we looked forward to some fluid attacking counter attacking football.

We didn’t have to wait long. Another corner was not dealt with by the Latics defence and when the ball came out to Harry Pell he despatched it from 16 yards high into the net. Cue wilder celebrations from the faithful. The goal was not dissimilar to the one he scored at Prenton Park. He certainly knows where the goal is and delights in rightly being a supporter’s favourite.

2-0 and it appeared to have knocked the stuffing out of Bunn’s loafers. However, the dangerous Surridge (on loan from Bournemouth) had different ideas. After Frank Nouble failed to challenge the ball was angled in by Taylor and Surridge had a simple tap in at the back post. 2-1 and the “Athleticos” behind the Jimmy Frizzell end at last burst into voice.

Now in previous seasons we might have conceded again, but the U’s are made of sterner stuff and some head tennis involving Nouble and Pell eventually found the ball to Norris who used his strength to muscle into the penalty are and he struck the ball through three defenders and into the net for 3-1 on 68 minutes.

I have to admit that I thought this would be game over and three more precious points at this stage. I was wrong!

The game however turned on the decision to substitute Luke Norris on 79 minutes. Clearly annoyed he stormed off. Now no one will ever really know but the momentum was with Colchester and I feel that Norris had a hattrick in him, so unless he was injured there was no need to replace him. Mika Mandron came on, so it was like for like, but suddenly the power and strength was slightly lacking in the forward line.

Worse still Oldham decided to start running at the defence and Colchester dropped deeper. Mr Backhouse also decided to penalise any challenge made by a Colchester defender. On 85 minutes a free kick was awarded to the Latics and Gardner played it quickly and it was smothered by Barnes. The referee decided to allow it to be retaken (why?) and from the second kick the ball was looped to the far post where Surridge converted a neat header past Barnes for 3-2.

This is where JMc is at his defensive worst. On 87 minutes he brought Tom Eastman into the fray and took off Brennan Dickenson (who was tiring). Again, Senior could have replaced Dickenson because an extra defender handed the momentum to Oldham. Another set piece this time a corner and the veteran defender Clarke with over 700 appearances over a 20-year career, headed powerfully past Barnes. 3-3 on 88 minutes.

The comeback was complete. But Oldham wanted more, they pushed for a winner and after the referee awarded another dangerous free kick, it was cleared after some pinball in the Colchester penalty area.

The now further advanced Nouble (and clearly much happier), had a chance to win the game but after cutting in from the right wing (as we looked at it) contrived to overrun the ball and the ball ran tamely to Iversen in the Latics goal. It was certainly eventful during the 6 additional minutes which the referee had added on.

At the end the sides could not be separated, and it was a point a piece. Now before the game I might have settled for a point, but this season we should expect more and at 3-1 ahead with 5 minutes of normal time to play, we should have seen the game out. JMc must ensure that we secure maximum points from such matches with a healthy lead to defend.

League table (top ten):

Lincoln 9 22
Exeter 9 19
Newport 9 19
COL U 9 16
Carlisle 9 16
Oldham 9 15
FGR 9 15
Swindon 9 15
Stevenage 9 15
Yeovil 8 14

It was a thoroughly entertaining game for the neutral and I suppose both sides could be content with a point, but not if we want an automatic promotion place come May 2019.

JMc is also going to have to decide whether Brennan Dickenson is fully fit or not. He looks to be lacking some pace and he only gets one or two telling crosses in because he plays far too deep. Frank Nouble, if he is to play wide, must be given licence to roam in the final third rather than have to track back in a role that he is clearly unaccustomed to. JMc must also decide whether he plays Eastman, Prosser and Kent in a three at the back or bench one of them to allow Jackson and Vincent-Young to play in a four.

For all Szmodics industry and running, he is slightly ineffectual at present and could be the player to make way if JMc were to play 3,4,3 with Dickenson moved up alongside Norris and Nouble. Tom Lapslie is recovering well after surgery and Comley is an able substitute in the midfield. Harry Pell is becoming the fan’s favourite and Norris at times is unplayable.

JMc must not be afraid to take risks, we have a team hungry to score goals and one which has the players to do so on a regular basis.

Do not misunderstand me, I am delighted to be able to watch the U’s this season. They are exciting and know where the goal is for the first time in several years. They are definitely a team worthy of promotion, but you win nothing in September. There can be no more profligacy when sitting on a 3-1 lead and 5 minutes on the clock.

My next Away games will not be until Morecambe and Grimsby in late October, before those however we need back to back home wins against Bury and Yeovil and other good results.

Up the U’s


Durham_exile

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Latics v Super U's - Durham's view on 10:13 - Sep 24 with 451 viewsPinault_Noir

Thank you Durham, very much. You have filled in the boxes of confusion I had whilst listening. I am certain Luton last year as well as Exeter and Lincoln now would have thrown Senior on to seek a 4th goal. That isn't McGreal's way he doesn't have the experience to deploy , pity as with strikers like ours it might well work for us as defending a last ten minute barrage is never easy.

I agree, two wins from these two home games are crucial or we shall lose touch with the better led teams above us. A point at Oldham is never bad and we are still unbeaten away but draws win nothing - a glance at FGR's league position proves that - they are actually still completely unbeaten but are only just above mid table due to a plethora of one-pointers!

And on top of everything else - you deserve to see another away win!

Up the U's
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Latics v Super U's - Durham's view on 14:21 - Sep 25 with 321 viewsdurham_exile

Latics v Super U's - Durham's view on 10:13 - Sep 24 by Pinault_Noir

Thank you Durham, very much. You have filled in the boxes of confusion I had whilst listening. I am certain Luton last year as well as Exeter and Lincoln now would have thrown Senior on to seek a 4th goal. That isn't McGreal's way he doesn't have the experience to deploy , pity as with strikers like ours it might well work for us as defending a last ten minute barrage is never easy.

I agree, two wins from these two home games are crucial or we shall lose touch with the better led teams above us. A point at Oldham is never bad and we are still unbeaten away but draws win nothing - a glance at FGR's league position proves that - they are actually still completely unbeaten but are only just above mid table due to a plethora of one-pointers!

And on top of everything else - you deserve to see another away win!

Up the U's


Pinault - Noir - thank you for your comments.

An interesting point about Saturday is that despite the U's apparent perceived desire or received instructions - to allow the Latics to boss possession, when they did attack they were irresistible and that is a facet of this season.

Pell and Norris have added steel and ability to the side in the vital final third. It is disappointing to learn that several players were carrying knocks or had not trained during the previous week.

Brennan Dickenson clearly is not match fit, but we have adequate cover amongst the substitutes to aid the midfield or defence for that matter.

What JMc must decide is whether he sticks with a back four or plays three at the back. Tom Eastman is too good a player to only be allowed 5 minutes at the end of the game and when he plays in a triumvirate with Prosser and Kent they look a strong and cohesive unit. Jackson and Vincent-Young are thus free to roam forward.

Of course the trade off is in the striking department and that is where Norris is clearly number one, but attention must turn to either Nouble or Szmodics warming the bench if Dickenson plays. Pell and Comley (or Lapslie when fit) must also start.


Therefore if a 3,4,3 formation is chosen, then the following is preferred:
(This is my favourite line up at present)

Barnes

Eastman Prosser Kent

Jackson Pell Comley Vincent-Young

Nouble Norris Dickenson


If 4,3,2,1 then:

Barnes

Jackson Prosser Kent Vincent-Young

Pell Comley Dickenson

Nouble Szmodics

Norris

An interesting problem for JMc to consider.

Subs:

Ross Senior Barnes A Wright Mandron Gondoh Collins

Aaron Collins, on loan from Wolves, impressed me at Meadow Lane (sadly he slipped when the goal was gaping) but since then he has become the forgotten man and this is a shame.

Bring on the Shakers

Up the U's

Durham_exile

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Latics v Super U's - Durham's view on 18:59 - Sep 25 with 306 viewsgerry_us

"triumvirate"?
Blimey Peter, where did that one come from?
Was always concerned once we scored first. McG must get out of negative mode. We have several prolific goal scorers on the pitch if they are allowed to attack 'even when we are ahead.
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Latics v Super U's - Durham's view on 21:02 - Sep 25 with 290 viewsdurham_exile

Latics v Super U's - Durham's view on 18:59 - Sep 25 by gerry_us

"triumvirate"?
Blimey Peter, where did that one come from?
Was always concerned once we scored first. McG must get out of negative mode. We have several prolific goal scorers on the pitch if they are allowed to attack 'even when we are ahead.


Gerry I did have to check the spelling!

JMc needs more belief in his players, because they are confident when going forward and capable of breaching any league two defence.

Anyway bring on the Shakers!

Up the U's

Durham_exile

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