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Super U's triumph in the red hot furnace which is Barrow 22:22 - Sep 11 with 287 viewsdurham_exile

I was privileged to join the other 119 Colchester supporters at Holker Street to witness a great Super U’s victory on Friday night. The match had it all 5 goals, 2 sending offs, great Away Support, brilliant team spirit, the most amazing post-match celebrations you could hope to see and much more. Suffice to say I was buzzing on the drive home.

Having been Away with the Schoolchildren on a Residential trip this week there was no time to do a pre-match write up. I unpacked my case and then got into Col U gear ready for the match. Fortunately, the A66, A685, M6 and A590 were all behaving. I followed the team bus into Barrow at about 6.20pm suggesting that they had been delayed and then whilst eating prior to the game I saw two of the faithful who told me that the CUSA bus had been delayed on the M6 and were unlikely to make the start of the game. This after an 11.00am start from Colchester.

Walking to the ground the delay was confirmed and the stewards on the turnstiles would be waiting for the supporters coach to guide them into the ground.

Now the standing Away supporters are allocated a corner of the ground at the Holker Street End and the seated a small area the other side of the corner flag. This end has been covered and is home to the more vociferous of the home fans. More of this later.

There were already about 70 of the faithful inside the ground. Noise levels were building and there was a good atmosphere amongst the faithful. The tannoy announcement confirmed that the programmes had not been received from the printers as a result of circumstances beyond their control. Very disappointing.

HM had selected a team without Jasper and Dobra in the line-up, both were on the bench.

George

Coxe Chambers Smith Daniels

Wiredu Skuse

Hannant Judge Sears

Nouble

Subs:

Chilvers, Jasper, Eastman, Dobra, Kennedy, Tchamadeu, Turner

The evening was mild (I was still wearing shorts!) and it was dry, so the pitch was well watered before kick-off. The pitch immediately in front of the faithful had cut up but otherwise the surface was good.

The initial exchanges were fairly even, Big Frank had a headed chance but failed to make good enough contact. Both Smith and Chambers looked lethargic. Chambers especially seemed out of sorts.

Now Freddie Sears played the best game that I have yet seen for Colchester since his return. I think that he is now finally fully match fit. Playing down each wing alternately he looked sharp and full of running.

After 15 minutes of the first half a cheer went up as we saw the Roman Coach draw up outside the stadium. The faithful streamed in and took their seats or joined the standing faithful. Chatting to a couple of supporters they told me their tale of woe. The delay was hard to take especially after the Rochdale game which was similarly affected by accidents on the Motorway.

We all bemoaned the fact that we had a decent squad but still lacked a Number 9 to crack in the goals. Once I revealed where I had driven from, they said “you’re Durham Exile”. It was nice to meet some fellow supporters with similar views concerning where we still needed to improve but sharing the passion for Col U.

On 25 minutes a bizarre back pass shockingly under hit from Smith left George in no mans land and Stevens nipped in to score. It was a shocking howler by Smith and no blame could be apportioned to Shamal George.

Referee Simon Mather halted the game temporarily and after a discussion with Captain Tommy Smith, an announcement was made on the Barrow PA system notifying the crowd that no racist abuse would be tolerated, and this was met with widespread applause within the stadium. It transpired that a small element of the Barrow support had verbally abused Shamal George in racist terms. George seemed to take this in his stride and cleared his head. Now I did not hear what was shouted and there was confusion as to why the ref had halted the game until the announcement was made. Quite simply there is no place in football or society for this behaviour and it is hope that the perpetrator can be identified, and the appropriate sanctions applied.

Colchester were undeterred by this obvious gift goal. A great U’s move started by Brendan Wiredu (surely the best defensive midfielder in league two) saw him pass to Freddie Sears who gazelle like centred for Alan Judge to beat the keeper to bring us parity on 35 minutes.

Three minutes later and we were in dreamland. Wiredu (who else) won the ball and chipped a delightful ball toward Sears who nipped in smartly to beat the defender and flick the ball past the keeper for 2-1. Frankly it was thoroughly deserved. Colchester were the better team, and it made the earlier hopeless back pass all the more annoying.

Half time arrived and no changes to the personnel were made. Colchester were now attacking the end where the faithful were gathered. The attendance of 2,430 within Holker Street albeit with only three sides occupied made the ground seem full and the partisan home support were baying for an equaliser. In truth Colchester did not seem in any trouble, we continued to play the ball forward and Coxe, Wiredu, Judge and Skuse were playing well. Big Frank battled away without success and Sears looked imperious.

Tom Eastman replaced Alan Judge on 66 minutes. Apparently, HM had decide to go 5 at the back but 2 minutes later everything changed for the worst.

Chambers was booked and then on 68 minutes after claims of handball against the Barrow player, he made a rash challenge and the referee belatedly sent him off. The tunnel was behind the far goal and so he had the walk of shame from the half way line.

Here we go again was the thoughts amongst the faithful. We never play well against 10 men, and we usually concede when we go down to 10 men. But we looked comfortable until the 76th minute when Hannant allowed his man to get the wrong side of him and he made a challenge from behind in the box. The ref had the easiest decision to make and he duly obliged. Banks despatched the penalty past the unlucky George, and we had a desmond.

Hannant was immediately substituted. He did not need to make any challenge and we had sufficient defenders back. Noah Chilvers slotted into midfield. He was perhaps unlucky not to start the game.

Colchester decided not to sit back, which was absolutely the right thing to do. Just four minutes later Charlie Daniels took a corner and delivered a delightful cross for Tom Eastman to head powerfully down and past the keeper. Cue great scenes with Daniels leaping into the crowd with at least five other players celebrating in the corner with the faithful. The camera even caught yours truly leaping to his feet to join in the joyful celebration.

The Blue Birds were stunned, Holker Street fell silent and the faithful sang “Follow Col U away, Follow Co, U away”. It was just great.

HM made an inspired substitution on 87 minutes by bringing on Junior Tchamadeu. He has bulked up and looked determined from the start. He played brilliantly.

Defender Jones from Barrow who had been booked earlier lunged in on Big Frank on 90 minutes and rightly received a second yellow card and was sent off.

The card happy referee booked 5 Colchester players and 1 Barrow plus the two sendings off. He then found 7 additional minutes which proved to be a tense affair. We were well into the eighth minute of added time before he blew the final whistle.

Unbridled joy amongst the faithful was shared by the players. Anyone who doubted what this win meant to the players witnessed the most amazing celebratory scenes. Every player ran past the faithful high fiving the supporters and the backroom staff plus HM applauded and joined in the joyful scenes. It was the first time that I had ever seen a Colchester team celebrate with such raw emotion.

Give us the League title now I say.

The team were superb, and the win thoroughly deserved. Shamal George after the vile abuse that he suffered was sound as usual. Cameron Coxe was solid. Smith recovered after his howler to sort himself out. Chambers should be ashamed that he put a victory at risk through his foolishness. Charlie Daniels is a real star. His experience came to the fore and his celebrations with the faithful was something else.

Brendan Wiredu gets better every game and Cole Skuse was almost unnoticeable, he was that good at keeping a check on midfield matters. Luke Hannant was out of sorts and his rash challenge almost cost us, but it would have been a travesty if we had dropped points. Alan Judge was good first half. Keeping him fit is crucial. Freddie Sears was outstanding Friday night. Simple as.

Big Frank needs a goal so badly. Simple as.

Tom Eastman was welcomed back and deserves his place back in the starting XI. Noah Chilvers is a star in the making and Junior Tchamadeu despite a cameo appearance was brilliant in the closing stages.

Yes, we need a striker, but Richard Kone seems to be making things impossible with no passport, confusion over his age and an agent who clearly does not have his best interest at heart.
Ultimately the difference between finishing in the top seven and automatic promotion will be down to a striker. How much longer will Michael Folivi be out I wonder.

I enjoyed the win at Oldham, but I LOVED Friday night at Barrow. The U’s were that good and the spirit was immense. We definitely went nuclear in the furnace of Barrow on Friday.

I hope that the faithful had a better journey home. I also hope that Mr and Mrs Witham enjoy their mini holiday in the north. I was home by 1140pm after a brilliant journey reliving the scenes of joy and thinking about the quality in the team which just needs a Number 9 to top it all off.

Up the U’s


Durham_exile

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Super U's triumph in the red hot furnace which is Barrow on 22:55 - Sep 11 with 269 viewswessex_exile

Fantastic stuff Durham - exactly as I saw it and a brilliant write-up. So glad you, Mr and Mrs Witham and the rest of the 120 heroes got what your efforts for Col U deserved!

On to Creepy Crawley next.

Up the U's
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Super U's triumph in the red hot furnace which is Barrow on 14:04 - Sep 14 with 123 viewsdurham_exile

For those of you who were disappointed about the inability to buy a programme on Friday night. Barrow now have programmes online to post for £2 (the programme is free) .
I have just ordered one.

Up the U's

Durham_exile

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