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Matches of Yesteryear - U's v Southend 10/2/04
Written by wessex_exile on Tuesday, 8th Oct 2019 17:18

Colchester United v Southend United

Tuesday 10th February 2004

LDV Vans Trophy (Southern Area Final First Leg)

Attendance 5,401

Match #17, and we return to a competition that we’ve already visited in the Matches of Yesteryear series, our LDV Vans Trophy exploits of 2003/04. The previous match featured was our glorious exploits courtesy of a Scott McGleish hat-trick at Sixfields in the semi-final. This one in the Area Final 1st leg however is somewhat less glorious. The U’s were managed by Phil Parkinson at the time, in his first full season in control, and mid-table in Nationwide Division 2 – Southend were struggling slightly in Nationwide Division 3.

I’m not sure if the order of the legs for the Southern Area Final was preordained in advance, or drawn from a hat, but the U’s certainly had the least favourable outcome, playing at home first. It is also worth bearing in mind that we were also still in the FA Cup, after beating Coventry 3-1 in the 4th round replay at Layer Rd a week earlier, and facing a trip to Bramall Lane in the 5th round just five days after this match.

The U’s lined up:

1….Simon Brown

25..Sam Stockley

19..Alan White

18..Liam Chilvers

26..Paul Tierney (Wayne Andrews 66’)

7….Karl Duguid

6….Thomas Pinault

10..Kem Izzet

3….Joe Keith

16..Rowan Vine

9….Scott McGleish

On the bench for the U’s was a young Greg Halford, somewhat recovered after Martin Smith had torn him another won at Sixfields in the previous round, whilst Southend had Carl Emberson (their usual no. 1) on the bench. The U’s also listed, at no. 92 on the squad sheet, a certain Bob Hamilton. I’m sure I also remember there was a mix-up over shirts for this match, the referee wouldn’t allow Southend’s kit, and they ended up playing in our clash/away kit – or something like that, maybe the other way around? With T1 and T2 at the Layer Rd end filled out with those from South Essex, I found myself on T3 for this match – not a first by any stretch of the imagination, but not a terrace I usually frequented, and hence a slightly odd perspective from which to watch the game. Though it wasn’t quite a sell-out, Layer Rd was still pretty rammed full, with 5,401 turning up.

I was on a bit of a roll as far as attending U’s games were concerned, and this was going to be my fifth attendance since the beginning of the new year, and I was going to be at two more before the end of February. Until relatively recently, my company had been excavating the Balkerne Heights site at the former St Mary’s Hospital, but that had just finished, so I drove over for this one and stayed at my Mum’s overnight. I had also made plans to meet up with another former visitor to the U’sual back in the day (Centurion, aka Rob), the plan being for me to get a first chance to sample an ale or two in the Corner Bar. Unfortunately, though Rob and I did eventually meet up, not in time for anything in the Corner Bar. Though I didn’t know it at the time, this was therefore the closest I ever got to visiting that hallowed place.

My memory banks are slightly hazy about the specifics of the match, but I do certainly remember Thomas Pinault blasting in a peach of an opening goal on just 7 minutes, to give us the best possible start. Had we held on to it for a bit longer, who knows how things might have turned out, but as is often the case, this wasn’t to be. On 17 minutes, Leon Constantine levelled the scores, after a nice through ball from Tes Bramble (Titus’s brother). Having failed to keep the lead for very long, and coming under increasing pressure from Southend, the next objective was to try and at least hold on to half-time. Unfortunately, this was not to be, with Broughton headed Southend into a 2-1 lead just a few minutes before half-time to give the travelling support much to cheer about.

Although away goals only counted after extra-time, it was imperative that the U’s got at least one back second half, for fear of being too far adrift going into the second leg. As a result, we came out all guns blazing, and were putting Southend under significant pressure…when the unthinkable happened. On 68 minutes, a goalkeeping howler from Simon Brown allowed Tes Bramble’s average shot on goal to squirm through his hands and bobble over the line to give the Shrimpers an undeserved 3-1 lead. From this point on, even more so than before, it was all U’s as we battered them from every angle. Eventually, the pressure told, and in the 75th minute Wayne Andrews (ironically brought on to replace Paul Tierney just before Southend’s third) headed one back for the U’s to send the home fans ballistic. Barely a minute later, with the pressure telling, Drewe Broughton committed his second yellow card foul, and was rightly sent off (though to cheers from the Shrimper support). A flurry of substitutions from Steve Tilson followed, to shore up his defence and of course waste as much time as possible, and Southend just about held on to finish the first leg in front, and with three away goals to their credit.

Colchester United 2 (Pinault 7’, Andrews 75’) Southend 3 (Constantine 17’, Broughton 42’, Bramble 68’)

I went to the second leg match as well, so won’t say too much about that, just in case it crops up on the random match generator. Suffice to say our cup exploits this season probably took their toll on our league form, drawing two and losing six of nine league games played from Christmas through to the end of February. Mind you, the estimated £230-300k revenue from our cup exploits wasn’t to be sniffed at either, particularly given the tortuously restrictive covenants we were tied up in at Layer Rd.

This turned out to be Thomas Pinault’s last goal for the U’s, and he was released at the end of the season. After a trial at Dundee United, and turning down an offer from Northampton Town, Pinault signed a one year contract with Grimsby Town. After falling out with then manager Russell Slade, Pinault left at the end of 2004/05, and a year or so later, reflecting on his time there, had this to say.

Grimsby was a really bad place to live. The town was really old and there wasn't much to do there. It was full of fishermen and it smelled of fish all the time.

This was voted one of the BBC Sport’s Quotes of the Year in 2006, but I think Thomas is still waiting for the good burghers of Grimsby to erect his statue…

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