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2018/19 prospects
at 19:31 30 Jul 2018

Taken from https://www.thepunterspage.com/2018-2019-league-two-season-betting-preview-tips/ (and sourced from the OMB)

"Colchester (5/1) are a fairly young side but certainly one full of promise. Their academy is producing talent and manager John McGreal isn’t afraid to blood their youngsters into the starting line up. Frankie Kent, Tom Lapslie and Sammie Szmodics are all likely to play higher in the football pyramid in years to come. All three are under the age of 23 and all were regular starters last season – they’ll only improve. Szmodics is a player that I’ve kept tabs on ever since I saw him score a hat-trick against Bradford City in the FA Youth Cup a few seasons ago. He’s a clever player, great with the ball at his feet, good pace and a nice finisher; he could be key for the Essex side. Bournemouth were interested in the player but Colchester is a place were he will play regularly. I expect him to be one of the best players in the league this season.

In the transfer market, the U’s have added more of an attacking threat with Luke Norris coming from Swindon and Frank Nouble arriving from Newport – both were regular starters for league rivals last year. They also bought in Harry Pell from Cheltenham who chips in with his fair share of goals from midfield. Aaron Collins has been brought in on loan from Wolves and they still have Mikael Mandron. They have serious strength in depth going forward and will be a nightmare to defend against next season."
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U'sual Champions League - The Final
at 18:30 12 May 2018

As it is now just two weeks away, here goes for the UCL final, between BFG and RSCOSWORTH, and 3rd place play-off between thrillseeker and mfb_cufc.

Saturday 26th May 2018
Real Madrid v Liverpool (1945 kick-off)

As usual, there are nine categories to predict. For categories C-H, as usual there will be 2pts if spot-on, but as a slight change this season, if neither get a spot-on, then there will be one point for whoever is closest (or 1pt each if equidistant).

 (A) Result - 3pts spot-on, 1pt for the outcome; 
 (B) Goal scorer - pick one, get 1pt for each goal they score (including own goals); 
 (C) Attempts on target - 2pts for spot-on, 1pt if closest; 
 (D) Attempts off target - ditto; 
 (E) Corners - ditto; 
 (F) Fouls - ditto; 
 (G) Yellow cards - ditto (a straight red is not two yellows); and 
 (H) Red cards - ditto (two yellows will count as two yellows and one red). 
 (TB) The tie-break is the minute for the first substitution, closest (either side) wins. In the unlikely event that there are no substitutions, this will be counted as 0 (zero) minutes. Note that for the final alone, a spot-on result will not count towards the tie-break, it's just the total points scored. 

All predictions will be for the normal time match, extra-time or penalties will not count. The only questions you can't match exactly on are (A), (B) and (TB), so whilst there is no other advantage to predicting first, predicting last may mean having to change one or more of those predictions.

Please PM me your predictions, and I will reveal when they are all in. I will bump this thread nearer the time as a reminder to all.

All stats will be taken from the BBC Sport website, just in case there are discrepancies elsewhere.

Good luck everyone!
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And welcome to...
at 12:26 28 Apr 2018

Joining us next season from League 1, definitely Bury and almost certainly the Mongs. Given their inferior goal difference, I will be amazed if Oldham and Northampton aren't the other two.

Coming up from the Conference, Macclesfield have been champions for some time now. Tranmere are definitely in the semi-finals of the play-offs already, to be joined by either Sutton United or Aldershot (the latter only if they can win at Sutton United today). The first round play-off four will come from one of those two, plus three from Aldershot, Ebbsfleet, Fylde, Boreham Wood, Bromley or Dover - mathematically Wrexham could make it, but they'd have to beat Fylde by a lot of goals, and hope Boreham Wood fall apart at home to bottom of the table Guiseley.

We'll be losing Accrington and Luton, and I reckon Wycombe going up automatically, and I'll stick my neck out and go for Lincoln via the play-offs (a victory for win-ugly I'm afraid). Chesterfield are down, and I can't see Barnet escaping either.
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U'sual Champions League - Semi-finals
at 20:53 17 Apr 2018

Many thanks to Concordman for his honesty in declaring an interest regarding the offer to carry out the semi-final draw, and thus gracefully declining the opportunity. I have therefore carried out my own version (using the Excel Rand() function), and the draw is as follows:

thrillseeker v RSCOSWORTH
BFG v mfb_cufc

The matches to predict are:

24th April 2018
Liverpool v Roma
25th April 2018
Bayern Munich v Real Madrid
1st May 2018
Real Madrid v Bayern Munich
2nd May 2018
Roma v Liverpool

In addition to the score prediction, each competitor must also predict one goal-scorer per match.

As usual, there will be 1pt for an outcome, 3pts if you get a result spot-on, and a bonus 1pt for each goal scored by your nominated goal-scorer in that particular match (and own goals will also count).

You cannot match anything with your opponent, so whilst first to post won't matter, it may make a difference in restricting popular options. For the second legs, the scores that matter (and goal-scorers) will be at the end of normal time - extra-time and/or penalties won't count.

If a tie-break is needed, it will be to predict the attendance at the next U's match, which is currently scheduled to be our last game of the season, at Exeter on Saturday 5th May. As a heads-up, the U's have been allocated 350 tickets, and me and Durham have one each already :-)

Good luck everyone
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Luton matchday thread
at 15:19 30 Mar 2018

Terrible injury to Luton midfielder Luke Berry, resulting in 12 minute delay whilst he was taken away in an ambulance - Eastman puts us 1-0 up almost straight from the re-start!

Come on Col U!
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U'sual Champions League - Quarter-finals
at 22:50 14 Mar 2018

As the dust settles on the UCL Round of 16, and with no extra-time needed for any matches, here are this weeks' results:
Man Utd 1 v 2 Sevilla
Roma 1 v 0 Shakhtar Donetsk
Besiktas 1 v 3 Bayern Munich
Barcelona 3 v 0 Chelsea

Group A
1} TheHappyGooner......2/8......14pts
2} BFG............................1/6......9pts

3} Daniel........................1/4......7pts
TheHapsG was always likely to claim first place, but this was consolidated with his Barca v Chelski spot-on tonight, and two more outcomes, to finish top on 14pts. Mind you, BFG was no slouch this week either, with another 5pts (including the Roma v Shakhtar spot-on) to finish in second place. Remarkably, despite missing six matches, at one moment tonight Daniel was lined up to sneak through with two spot-ons, until Messi scored Barcelona's third against Chelsea.

Group B
1} concordman..........3/8......17pts
2} mfb_cufc...............0/8......8pts

3} burnsieespana......0/6......6pts
The overall performance of this round is Concordman, picking up a massive 3 spot-ons and 8 outcomes to finish comfortably top on 17pts. MFB's impressive 50% outcome hit-rate was enough for second place on 8pts, ahead of Burnsie on 6pts.

Group C
1} thrillseeker..........2/6......12pts
2} gsy163.................1/9......12pts

3} durham_exile......0/7......7pts
With Gsy picking up 3 outcomes this week, it was a real nail-biter at the top, but Thrillseeker claimed first place after getting his Man U result spot-on, to finish on equal on 12pts, but top with 2 spot-ons. Durham did well with another 3 outcomes of his own this week, but the absence of spot-ons cost him.

Group D
1} RSCOSWORTH......2/5......11pts
2} Gate16.................2/4......10pts

3} gerry_us...............0/7......7pts
RS finished top, thanks to the Roma result spot-on and 2 other outcomes, but pressed hard by Gate with his own Besiktas result spot-on and another outcome. Commiserations to Gerry, who did well with 3 outcomes this week, but not enough to move into the top two qualifying slots.

So, with Winner A, Runner-Up B, Winner C, Runner-up D forming Group 1, and Runner-up A, Winner B, Runner-up C and Winner D forming Group 2 of the Quarter-finals, the groups are as follows:

Group 1
TheHappyGooner
mfb_cufc
thrillseeker
Gate16

Group 2
BFG
concordman
gsy163
RSCOSWORTH

Congratulations to the qualifiers, and commiserations to those that leave the competition at this stage. The quarter-final draw is this Friday - more news to follow after that.
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FAO Gate16 - U'sual Champions League
at 15:16 7 Feb 2018

Afternoon Gate16 - as Noah has gracefully declined from participating in the competition this season, and as you finished 13th in the qualification race, I would be pleased to offer you the opportunity to replace Noah in Group D, alongside Gerry and RS. I should add that both have been consulted, and are more than happy with this arrangement.
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U'sual Champions League - Round of 16 predictions
at 16:59 31 Dec 2017

Here are the fixtures for prediction, which commence on 13th February 2018:

First Legs
13/02/2018
FC Basel v Man City
Juventus v Spurs

14/02/2018
FC Porto v Liverpool
Real Madrid v PSG

20/02/2018
Chelsea v Barcelona
Bayern Munich v Besiktas

21/02/2018
Sevilla v Man Utd
Shakhtar Donetsk v Roma

Second Legs
06/03/2018
Liverpool v FC Porto
PSG v Real Madrid

07/03/2018
Man City v FC Basel
Spurs v Juventus

13/03/2018
Man Utd v Sevilla
Roma v Shakhtar Donetsk

14/03/2018
Besiktas v Bayern Munich
Barcelona v Chelsea

I will bump this nearer the time, but you are free to post some or all of your predictions at your leisure - deadline is kick-off for each game, which I understand are all scheduled to be 1945. A reminder that you can only exact match one prediction with either of your fellow group members during this stage of the competition, and top two based on points scored and number of spot-ons goes through. Should a tie-break be needed, it will be the attendance at the next U's match, which is currently scheduled to be U's v Yeovil at Fortress WHCS, on Saturday 17th March 2018.

Good luck everyone!
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U'sual Champions League - qualifiers and rules
at 13:15 31 Dec 2017

With the dust settling on the U’sual Champions League qualification race, the following are through to the group stage:

noah4x4 (112pts)
thrillseeker (108pts)
mfb_cufc (holder, and 105pts)
BFG (100pts)
gerry_us (100pts)
TheHappyGooner (98pts)
RSCOSWORTH (97pts)
concordman (95pts)
burnsieespana (94pts)
Daniel (94pts)
durham_exile (92pts)
gsy163 (89pts)

Congratulations to you all, and in particular MFB for not only continuing to run an excellent prediction league, but also finding the time to comfortably qualify on points scored alone, without any need for the current holder safety net!

The 12 will be drawn into 4 groups of 3 (Groups A, B, C, D) and play off against each other predicting all of the Group of 16 matches, currently scheduled to commence on 13th February 2018.

As always, there will be no first-to-post tie-break decider this round, only most spot-ons. However, remember you are only allowed one exact match prediction with each one of your fellow group members for this entire round (1st and 2nd legs together), so first to post may be a factor. If I spot too many exact matches I will do my best to give advance warning, but please don't rely on me to do this - you must watch this one yourselves too.

Top two from each Group go through.

The 8 will then form 2 groups of 4, and play off against each other predicting all of the Quarter-final matches. Groups will be formed as follows: Winner A, Runner-Up B, Winner C, Runner-up D and Runner-up A, Winner B, Runner-up C and Winner D.

The top two from each Group will then be drawn from a hat to play off in head-to-head matches, all predicting the semi-final matches.

The finalists will play-off predicting the Champions League Final, this will include predicting different aspects of the game, not just the score - and will be submitted as concealed bids (via PM to me).

In order to randomly select the members of each group, I'd be grateful if someone could give me a number between 1 and 10.
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Col U does it again!
at 17:50 14 Nov 2017

It amuses me how often it appears that losing to Colchester United is seen as the defining moment for managerial sackings...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/41977378
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Robins roll-call
at 19:19 15 Sep 2017

One of the handy local ones for me and my youngest - anyone else making the trip?
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Kenilworth Rd on Saturday
at 17:00 15 Aug 2017

For anyone maybe thinking about deciding on the day to travel over, the game is all-ticket, and sales end at 2pm Friday. It was fortunate I checked myself, as I was just planning to travel and pay at the gate.
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Bugger
at 17:17 5 Aug 2017

Well, that was probably one of the worst starts to a football season for me - if you were looking for me at the ground Durham, sadly I didn't make it. Me and the boy left bright and early for the long drive, satnav telling me we'd be at the ground with an hour to spare. An accident on the M5, reducing it to just one lane between J14 and J13, put paid to 45 minutes of that hour, and then roadwork delays at the top of the M5, forcing a re-route via the M42 and M6 Toll, another 25 minutes. No matter I thought, we might be 10 minutes late, but that's not too bad. And then another accident ahead on the M6, with the warning signs on the motorway (and on my Highways England app) advising we should expect another 2 hour delay - crap! No point in going on, so we turned around at J14 and headed home, whilst listening on 5Live to the Accy Stanley goals flow in :-(

We got home just in time to hear Sammy's late consolation goal, which was scant consolation for me, that's for sure.
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U'sual Prediction League
at 20:18 31 Jul 2017

Evening Daniel - is the PL in your hands, or are we waiting for fansnetwork to get their act together? I ask, because the only options at the moment appear to (randomly) U's v FGR and t'other CUFC v U's.
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Accrington Stanley roll call
at 11:50 31 Jul 2017

Who's making the trip then? It'll be a new ground for me, so I'm up for it...driving though, don't fancy a five hour train journey (with four changes) to get home.
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Meridian Pull Challenge
at 21:02 23 Jun 2017

Dear U'suals

Over the years I have been humbled by the incredible generosity shown by Col U fans towards so many fantastic causes, and not least my personal pleas for sponsorship donations on behalf of (amongst others) Cancer Research, the British Heart Foundation, Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust.

Next Wednesday (28th June), a team of six colleagues are entering the Meridian Pull, an 8.5 mile row on the River Thames from Battersea, past the Houses of Parliament, through the centre of London, under Tower Bridge and finishing at Greenwich. I'm providing much-needed support, and we are raising funds for the AHOY Centre (who organise the event, and where the race ends). The AHOY Centre run courses and training programmes to help disadvantaged children, young vulnerable people and those with disabilities gain qualifications and essential life skills needed for employment - a cause that many of you may know is very important on a personal level.

The AHOY Centre may not be a big name charity, but I was there with our team yesterday evening for their final training session, and I could see first-hand just what a fantastic job they are doing. I could also see just how much difference even small change will make to the incredible work they do.

There's a link below for donations, and thanks for anything you can spare - you are all beautiful people!

https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/wessexarchaeology
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U'sual Champions League - final
at 23:01 10 May 2017

Without further ado, the semi-finals have finished as follows:

Burnsieespana......8-v-2......Colukev
Despite a spirited rearguard action from Kev with outcomes for both Juve's home and away wins, Burnsie has battered his way into the U'sual Champions League final with 8pts, courtesy of Real's home win outcome and Ronaldo's hat-trick in the first leg, Mbappe's goal last night, and in excellent form Atletico Madrid's 2-1 win spot-on tonight.

Gate16......5-v-8......MFB
Similarly, MFB's blistering form in all competitions continues, also with Real's first leg home win outcome and Ronaldo's hat-trick, backed up by Juve's first leg away win outcome plus two goals for Higuain, and Juve's home win outcome last night, for an equally impressive 8pts. Particular commiserations for Gate though, as his spot-on for Juve's 2-0 away win in the first leg, their home win outcome for the 2nd leg match yesterday, and Griezmann's goal tonight, kept matters very close right to the end with 5pts.

So, the U'sual Champions League final is between:
Burnsieespana......v......MFB

And the 3rd place match is between:
Gate16......v......Colukev


The final is Juventus v Real Madrid on Saturday 3rd June 2017 (kick-off 1945).

As usual, there are nine categories to predict, so please PM me your predictions for the following: 
(A) Result - 3pts spot-on, 1pt for the outcome; 
(B) Goal scorer - pick one, get 1pt for each goal they score (including own goals); 
(C) Attempts on target - 2pts for spot-on, 1pt if within one; 
(D) Attempts off target - ditto; 
(E) Corners - ditto; 
(F) Fouls - ditto; 
(G) Yellow cards - ditto (a straight red is not two yellows); and 
(H) Red cards - ditto (two yellows will count as two yellows and one red). 
(TB) The tie-break is the minute for the first substitution, closest (either side) wins. In the unlikely event that there are no substitutions, this will be 0 (zero) minutes.

Note that for the final alone, a spot-on result will not count towards the tie-break.

As usual, all predictions will be for the normal time match stats as provided by BBC Sport online, extra-time or penalties will not count. The only questions you can't match exactly on are (A) and (TB), so whilst there is no other advantage to predicting first, predicting last may mean having to change one or both of those predictions. Assuming I have time, I will warn anyone of this situation, but if you send your predictions too close to kick-off, I really can't guarantee I will be able to respond in time.


...and finally, as a tie-break wasn't required, I can now share your predictions for the U's v Yeovil attendance, as follows:
Actual attendance = 6,565
Burnsieespana = 7,084 (519 off)
Colukev = 5,997 (568 off)
Gate16 = 6,781 (216 - well done sir!)
MFB = 6,245 (320)
You are all to be collectively praised for this, because your average of 6,527 was just 38 off the actual attendance!
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Play-off contenders
at 22:56 6 May 2017

So, now all is said and done, who do we want to say cheerio to in the play-offs? With apologies to our Northern Branch, Carlisle are front and centre as my preferred team to be victorious in the play-offs...
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