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Knees-up Mother Brown #24
Written by wessex_exile on Saturday, 30th Mar 2024 13:54

After another weekend break to spend a very enjoyable afternoon with Spireite Craig watching the U’s get a well-deserved point at runaway leader Mansfield Town, followed by promotion back to the EFL for Chesterfield, the matchday Saturdays left before the end of the season are running out. So, given I’m away again next Saturday again to join 9,000+ for the visit of Planet Hollywood, I’m going to slip in a Good Friday special ahead of what will undoubtedly be two extremely important fixtures in deciding the fate of Colchester United. On Monday the family are arriving for their traditional Easter Egg Hunt (and obligatory roast dinner), so here goes for the visit of t’other Exiles to the JobServe. Come on Col U!

[b]Ready for Battle![/b]

[b]The world outside U’s World[/b]
A paper published in [i]Nature[/i] this week has focused on how melting polar ice from global warning is affecting how fast the Earth spins, according to author Duncan Agnew, a geophysicist at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institute of Oceanography. The Earth’s astronomical time, known as the coordinated universal time (UTC), has been an atomic-clock based standard since the 60s. In the past, as rotation occasionally slowed (it does, don’t panic) scientists have had to add additional “leap seconds” to keep the rotation and UTC aligned. However, with the increased volume of water around the equator resulting from global warming, our rotation is now speeding up, requiring the introduction of a “negative leap second” at some point (by at least 2029 as things stand). University of Colorado Boulder glaciologist Ted Scambos described the adjustment as a “[I]yikes[/i]” moment for computer-based technology.

After losing in her bid to become the new Governor of Arizona in 2022, Kari “soft focus” Lake decided to follow in the footsteps of her hero Donald Trump and deny, deny, deny it was a fair election, and that she’d been cheated. Her focus in doing so was Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, ironically a life-long Republican. In an unrelented campaign of personal attacks and false accusations, Lake and her supporters made Richer and his family’s life a living hell of constant threats and abuse. So much so that eventually he sued Lake for defamation, and without a leg to stand on, Lake eventually capitulated this week. She has notified the court that she does not intend to defend her claims that he deliberately wrecked her gubernatorial campaign, petitioning the court to hold a default judgement hearing and go straight to determining damages. Let’s hope it’s a really big number.

On a lighter theme, the famous door which saved the life of Rose (Kate Winslet) in the movie “Titanic” was sold at auction for a staggering $700,000 this week. In a YouGov poll of 1,688 Brits, over half of the respondents believe there was more than enough room for Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) as well, whilst only 17% thought not. To mash-up a famous line, it was the scene which launched a thousand memes, and I do like this one.

Ever wondered about donating your body to science? Who’d want it I imagine many of you would be thinking, but annually approximately 1,300 people do. However, experts in the medical profession have warned that this number is still far short of the amount needed by medical colleges to give their students invaluable learning opportunities with real human remains. An opportunity to die for I suppose?

[b]U’s World[/b]
Somewhat old news again, but the young U’s battled hard in the Essex Senior Cup Final against Redbridge, but after finishing 0-0 in normal time, lost 5-4 in the penalty shoot-out. Harsh on the lads, but I’m sure the journey to the final alone will serve them well as they develop. The really positive sign was the welcome return of Samson Tovide for the first half of that game, and even better to see him come on at Mansfield and go so close to actually winning the game for the U’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a start today.

However, the Colchester United Woman showed how it should be done last Sunday, in the quarter-finals of the Essex County Women’s League Cup. Playing against Premier League outfit Stanway Rovers Ladies, the U’s held their illustrious opponents 2-2 after extra time and went on to win their own penalty shoot-out 3-2. The U’s were due to face Blackmore Ladies at the Garrison on Sunday, but for whatever reason Blackmore have withdrawn from the fixture. Considering they were to face a team that has passed the 100 goals scored mark already, can’t say I blame them.

Bad news ahead of today’s fixture, with the announcement that the match will be refereed by Sunny Singh Gill, assisted by Daniel Bonneywell, Stephen Brown and Stuart Butler. Mr Gill and the U’s are not the best of bedfellows, given we’ve lost all four matches that he’s previously officiated, the most recent last September in our 5-0 defeat to Spurs U21s in the BSM Trophy. He’s also been responsible for a few somewhat “challenging” decisions in those games, so whilst I applaud him becoming the first British South Asian to referee a Premier League match, I do hope for our sake he has a better afternoon today.

[b]Match of the Day
[i]Colchester United v Doncaster Rovers
25th March 2016
Sky Bet Football League One (Tier 3)
Attendance 3,771[/i][/b]

[b]Thanks to ColuData for the programme cover image[/b]

[i]Match of the Day[/i] for KMB24, and it’s a special for Easter (and also not a game I was at). Our Good Friday record overall isn’t too bad, playing 54 times and winning 25, drawing 16 and losing only 13. However, in recent seasons points have proved elusive, and for the seven home fixtures since we moved to the JobServe, we’ve only won three of them (albeit that’s three of the last four). So, what better than to go back to the very first of those three, for the visit of Doncaster Rovers on 25th March 2016.

We had been going through a managerial cluster-phuck that season, starting with Tony Humes, replaced by Richard Hall and John McGreal as an interim duo, then Wayne Brown as a caretaker, and current incumbent Kevin Keen signing as the new manager just before Christmas. It hadn’t been going well either, and going into this match the U’s were rock-bottom of the league, and seemingly needing a miracle to avoid relegation. Our only consolation was that Donny were having a mare of a season as well, and under Darren Ferguson, who had arrived in October, looked like they’d do well to also avoid relegation.

Kevin Keen’s U’s lined up that afternoon as follows:

33..Elliot Parish
4….Joe Edwards
18..Tom Eastman
32..Leo Chambers (15. Frankie Kent 16’)
31..Nicky Shorey
2….Owen Garvan (captain)
8….Alex Gilbey
10..George Moncur
11..Gavin Massey
9….Chris Porter (19. Macauley Bonne 83’)
12..Elliot Lee (24. Richard Brindley 79’)

Considering this was a match between two sides at the wrong end of the table, the first half pretty much lived up to that billing, with both sides struggling to make any impact. Following a lengthy break whilst Parish was treated following a clash with Nathan Tyson, our situation wasn’t helped by the early substitution of Leo Chambers after just 15 minutes. It wasn’t clear where or when it had occurred, but after picking up an injury from an innocuous challenge early on, he couldn’t continue. However, not too bad considering he was replaced by Frankie Kent I suppose?

We’d shown a few flashes of what we could do; Moncur had curled a speculative effort over the bar from 18 yards and Porter had a decent near-post effort deflected wide for a corner, but that was about it really. And then typically, given how our season was panning out, Doncaster Rovers took the lead. Coppinger pinged a cross-field ball from inside his own half, McSheffrey on his loan debut easily beat our lethargic offside trap, and made no mistake drilling past Elliot Parish. It was that simple, and already looking like it would be a long afternoon for the U’s.

There wasn’t much else in the first half to write home about either, as we struggled to get a hold of the game. Even a half-hearted appeal for a 44th minute penalty, as Elliot Lee went down under a challenge from Taylor-Sinclair was summarily waved away by referee Kevin Friend. And so half-time arrived, and our perilous position was looking even more so.

Given how drab and lacklustre the first half had been, I want a shot of whatever Keen put in the U’s half-time cups of tea, because the second half was a completely different performance. Within a few minutes of the restart Massey put in a fine cross for Porter to head goalwards. His effort was blocked, and Lee was unlucky to see his follow-up effort crash off the base of the post. A few minutes later a 25 yard thunderbolt of a free-kick from Garvan flashed inches wide with keeper Remi Matthews beaten.

Following a brief scare, with Coppinger’s shot from the edge of the box also going narrowly wide, and Parish nowhere near it, the U’s finally got the equaliser their second half performance deserved. After excellent work from Massey, turning his defender inside out, he slipped his pass through to an unmarked Porter in the centre, who sliced his effort in off the inside of the far post.

Still the U’s pressed, with Gilbey going close after yet more excellent work from Massey down the right. With 20 minutes to go, the roof lifted off the ground, after Elliot Lee, drifting in from the left and fired in an absolute belter from all of 30 yards which cleared the despairing dive of Matthews and into the top far corner of the net. Less than a minute later it was 3-1, and with barely a chance for the supporters to catch their breath, as Gilbey picked up the ball in the middle of the Doncaster half. He seemed to be drifting wide, but instead lashed in an unstoppable shot which found the same top corner as Lee’s had.

From 1-0 down at half-time, the resurgent U’s were now comfortably in control after three goals in ten minutes, and surely good value for a much needed three points. The stuffing had been knocked out of Doncaster Rovers, who couldn’t do anything to get back into the game, and with two minutes to go the U’s served up the cherry on the cake. Moncur, twisting and turning, managed to weave his way into the box without a single defender daring to go near him, laid the ball off perfectly to the waiting Richard Brindley, who drilled into the middle of the net to seal an emphatic victory for the U’s.

[b]Colchester United 4 (Porter 62’; Lee 71’; Gilbey 72’; Brindley 87’) Doncaster 1 (McSheffrey 21’)[/b]

The stats for this one, with thanks to ColUData, were off the chart. Our biggest win of the season, in fact, our biggest win for the last two years, the first time we’d come back from 1-0 to win in all competitions since 2011 (at Crewe in the FA Cup, I was there), the first time we’d come back from 1-0 down at half-time to win in the league since [b][u]1985[/b][/u], and the first time we’d come back from 1-0 at half-time to win 4-1 in the league since 1977!

Hope springs eternal, and on the back of this result the U’s won 1-0 at Coventry City, drew at home 0-0 with Millwall, and won again 1-0 at Blackpool to keep our faint hopes of survival alive. But, with five games to go and eight points adrift from safety, sadly the writing was on the wall. After a 3-0 home defeat to Burton Albion on 23rd April confirmed our relegation, Keen fell on his sword. Following one game under David Wright as caretaker, Steve Ball was given the dubious privilege of managing the U’s on the final day of our League 1 existence, as the U’s lost 2-1 at home to Rochdale. We were joined by Crewe, Blackpool and of course Doncaster Rovers.

[b]Up the U’s![/b]

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