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Knees-up Mother Brown #10
Written by wessex_exile on Sunday, 22nd Oct 2023 14:20

Back again, after another U’s-induced matchday ‘experience’ at FGR, and what an experience it was. What was already a poor match between two poor sides descended into insanity after the red card for Mingi, with the U’s dismantled repeatedly to let four second half goals in. I hardly ever leave a game before the final whistle, but as the board went up for nine more minutes I’d seen enough and me and Alfie headed out for our lift home (and as a result, missed the frank exchange of views between players and supporters at the end). However, let’s focus on the positives, whatever was said, a much changed U’s were a different team on Tuesday at League 1 Cambridge. The U’s thoroughly deserved the win and their Pizza Slice Trophy three points, thanks in no small part to an excellent performance from Chay Cooper.

[b]Surely done enough to earn a start today?[/b]

[b]The world outside U’s World[/b]
Well, there’s so much to unpack from the week just gone. The terrible events in and around Gaza continue, and with the usual associated humanitarian crisis getting worse by the day. More worrying, shelling has also increased between Israel’s northern border and Iran-backed Hezbollah militants in southern Lebanon. The UK, US, Canada, Germany and Saudi Arabia have all advised their respective nationals to get out of Lebanon as soon as they can. There are some small positives in all of this; humanitarian aid should be getting into Gaza in a day or so for those citizens who cannot leave (or to be more precise, Hamas won’t let leave), and two US hostages, a mother and daughter, have been released. Still doesn’t look like peace and stability in the Middle East is going to be a thing for months to come.

Storm Babet has been battering Scotland during the week, with associated torrential rain experienced right across the UK. Severe flooding has caused chaos to the transport network, including Leeds Bradford airport which was closed after a plane skidded off the runway while trying to land in strong winds. Sadly, the flooding has claimed the lives of three so far. Needless to say, the weather has forced widespread postponements across the Scottish leagues, though as my Dundee-supporting friend commented “[i]saves us getting a bumping from Aberdeen![/i]”. At present, only one fixture in England seems to be affected, with Mansfield v FGR already postponed – so at least they can’t overtake the U’s today.

Across the pond, the Republican party clown show rumbles on and on. The ongoing chaos as the House of Representatives tries to elect a new Republican speaker would be hilarious, it if weren’t for the fact the delay will hold up approving funds to aid both Israel and Ukraine. Jim Jordan, one of the more odious members of the Maga Republicans, tried his hand, after Scalise was nominated but on realising it was nought but a poisoned chalice said ‘no thanks’. However Jordan, the wrestling coach who turned a blind eye to his team doctor abusing countless numbers of young athletes in his care, managed to slide backwards in support over three votes. Finally yesterday he realised the writing was on the wall and withdrew to spare any further humiliation. Ironic really that an election-denier should listen to the results of a vote, but heyho. With the House now in recess, the world must wait another week before they see if the dysfunctional Republicans can get their act together and elect a new speaker. Consider putting your money on Democrat Hakeem Jefferies through a bipartisan agreement with the sane branch of the Republican party – you heard it here first.

And as for the architect of all this chaos, Donald J Trump, the walls really are closing in on him. In the Georgia election interference case, he would have been terrified to see co-defendants Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell flip and plead guilty to charges at the eleventh hour. Chesebro and Powell had both asked for speedy trials and were due to start their proceedings on Thursday. Both however have pleaded guilty to have some charges dropped and receive suspended sentences for the remainder, along with modest ‘slap on the wrist’ fines. Most importantly, they are now compelled to become witnesses for the prosecution and given how closely they orbited the fat orange buffoon, no doubt they’ve proverbially got the photos. You can expect many more of Trump’s co-defendants to flip as their trials approach.

[b]Tick tock Donald, tick tock…[/b]

[b]U’s World[/b]
Well first off, although I can’t find anything on our website, I assume Owen Goodman is back and available for selection. Owen was in goal for the 2-0 defeat in Romania Thursday before last, but on the bench for the Young Lion’s second defeat 2-1 against Portugal at MK Dons during the week. That being said, Sam Hornby put in a pretty good performance at the Abbey, so I do wonder whether he’ll keep the spot in goal, at least for today anyway?

Jay Mingi and Arthur Read both took full advantage of the red card rules to play in the EFL Trophy game at the Abbey, and both gave excellent accounts of themselves. However, both will still have to complete their league suspensions today and miss the visit of Harrogate Town. Arthur Read, in particular, will be sorely missed, given I reckon he’s already on track for a Player of the Season award (or two).

There was great news yesterday, when it was announced that Bradley Ihionvien had signed a new contract to keep him at the club until the end of the 2024/25 season. He’s a big strong unit, so provided we can keep hold of him, a huge asset as we try to get back out of the National League next season – only kidding…I think. It’s interesting, given the result on Tuesday, that Brad and Chay Cooper are part of the same school of young academy players finally breaking into the first team. Incidentally, one who didn’t make it, Jake Hutchinson, finally got his first goal for Queen of the South at the end of last month, in a 3-1 victory over Kelty Hearts.

Colchester United Women continue to brush aside all comers in their inaugural season. On consecutive Sundays at the start of October the ladies battered Barking Reserves 10-2 in East London and Halstead Town 10-0 at home in the Essex County Women’s Football League Division 2. Last Sunday, in the BBC Essex County Cup, the U’s faced a very tough game at Frontiers Ladies FC. In a tight game, the U’s eventually prevailed 3-0, with goals from Emily Ager, Cassie Craddock-Ball and Lindsey Morgan – the last two deep in injury time – to earn them a second round trip to Toby FC.

Whatever the league or level, a 100% record in their first six game is some achievement, and tomorrow the U’s Ladies aim to make it a Magnificent 7 at Hedinghams United. It’s also worth noting, for anyone who wants to head down to watch the U’s Ladies, that the Colchester Garrison ground will be closed during November and December for refurbishment. During this time their home games will be played at Shrub End.

[b]Match of the Day
[i]Orient v Colchester United
3rd January 2011
Npower Football League One (Tier 3)
Attendance 4,339[/i][/b]

[i]Match of the Day[/i] for KMB10, and we return to the memorabilia random match selector, and our New Year Bank Holiday Monday visit to Brisbane Road in 2011. I don’t have a programme for this one, just the usual calendar entry, but I do still have a bunch of photos from what was an excellent day out with Alfie. Em was on a double-shift that day (E+L = early and late), so me and Alfie took the opportunity for a men behaving badly day out in London. This included meeting up with my mate Jon at Hamilton Hall before heading over to join the pre-match preparations at the Coach and Horses.

Suitably refreshed, and Alfie anxious to get in the ground for a pre-match hot dog, we took our places up the back of a predictably large turnout of the Faithful, and in fine voice too. This was John Ward’s first season in charge of the U’s, and for the first half of the season we’d been going well, with only one defeat all the way through to the start of November and sitting comfortably in the play-offs.

Although we did lose a couple more during November, it was the weather that really had a hand in our immediate fortunes. A cold snap saw matches at both Brighton and Bristol Rovers postponed for snow, and over Christmas both games at Peterborough and home to Oldham postponed for frozen pitches. As a result, we only completed one fixture in December, a dreary 0-0 at home to Yeovil, and despite a feisty 3-3 against Charlton Athletic on New Years Day itself, we’d slipped out of the play-offs by the time we travelled to Brisbane Road.

Looking to get back in touch with the play-offs, John Ward’s U’s lined up:
1….Ben Williams
3….Lee Beevers
6….Paul Reid (captain)
25..John White
28..Matt Heath
14..Andy Bond (11. Simon Hackney 78’)
22..Anthony Wordsworth
26..Lloyd James
7….Ashley Vincent (15. Kayode Odejayi 53’)
16..Ian Henderson
19..David Mooney

Leading into the game, much of the speculation was whether or not we’d hold on to Marc Tierney. Marc was out of contract at the end of the season and had been attracting interest from Championship clubs. So, to turn up and see he wasn’t even on the bench confirmed to most that we’d probably seen the last of him in a U’s shirt. On top of which, we also knew that Liam Henderson and David Mooney’s loans were coming/ had come to an end. Henderson had already returned to Watford, and Mooney would be off back to Reading once the Orient game was done.

Under manager Russell Slade, our opponents Leyton Orient had had a dreadful start to the season, and right through until late October were in the relegation zone. However, since then they went on a mini unbeaten run, punctuated only by a 3-2 defeat at the U’s in November, and were clawing their way back into mid table. They had some handy players too, including Jamie Jones in goal, Charlie Dainels in midfield, and of course Alex Revell (ex Braintree Town) and our very own Scott McGleish up front. Mind you, while we were drawing 3-3 with the Addicks on New Years Day, the O’s were getting battered 5-0 at championship hopefuls Brighton.

Whether it was the efforts expended just two days earlier by both clubs, for most of the first half, and despite raucous support from the away terrace, it was a pretty tired lacklustre performance from both sides. That was until four minutes from half time, when Jimmy Smith managed to get on the end of a cross from Dean Cox and loop the ball over Ben Williams to give the O’s a 1-0 lead. To be honest, it wasn’t so much that it had been coming, just that it wasn’t unexpected in the least. As the U’s traipsed in at half time, my hope was that Ward was going to give them the hairdryer, to at least show a bit more drive and determination in the second half.

On the evidence of the second half, he clearly did – kind off – but not before we managed to shoot ourselves in the foot. The U’s did at least start to have a go, and following an early substitution to bring on Kayode Odejayi for Ashley Vincent (can’t remember if it was tactical or an injury), we were looking much more likely to get back into the game. Until, that is, Matt Heath made a complete mess of a headed back pass to allow Alex Revell to nip in and stab home a second for Orient.

Now we definitely didn’t deserve that, but when you hand over chances like that on plate, you’ve only yourself to blame. Still, the U’s rallied, and with Orient now more than happy to take their chances on the break, started to apply real pressure. With the clock approaching twenty minutes to go, that pressure told, but again from a defensive disaster. A speculative high ball into the box looked to be Jamie Jones’ all day long, but under minimal pressure he fumbled his catch to allow Anthony Wordsworth a simple tap-in – and the U’s were back in it.

Roared on by the Faithful, it was surely a matter of time before we equalised. Sensing the same, Russell Slade decided to replace Dean Cox with Paul-Jose M’Poku, and just three minutes later the supersub had restored Orient’s two goal lead. From my viewpoint, there didn’t seem to be much threat as M’Poku received the ball on the edge of the box, but instinctively he smashed it goalward, past the dive of Williams and into the top corner.

There was nothing Williams could have done about it, but talk about taking the wind out of sails. Still though the U’s support didn’t let up, while there was time there was hope. And who should rekindle that hope than Ian Henderson. With less than ten minutes to go, Ian decided to go it alone, and with the Orient defence clearly fearful of risking bringing him down, he managed to weave right through the penalty area to finish from close range, and the away terrace erupted!

By now the roar from the away terrace was deafening, as we tried through sheer will power to drag the ball into the net for an equaliser, and if time allowed, who knew, maybe even a winner? But, this is Col U we’re talking about, so it really shouldn’t have been a surprise when a breakaway charge up the field by Orient saw Tehoue’s effort fumbled by Ben Williams, to again restore Orient’s two goal lead.

And this time, there was no coming back for the U’s.

[b]Leyton Orient 4 (Smith 41’; Revell 49’; M’Poku 75’; Tehoue 86’) Colchester United 2 (Wordsworth 69’; Henderson 81’)[/b]

Post-match Ian Henderson conceded that for most of the game the U’s simply weren’t at the races against Orient, and that it had been a disappointing afternoon – you can say that again Ian. David Mooney did return to Reading, albeit briefly, as we managed to persuade them to agree to a loan extension, and he was back in time for our FA Cup 3rd Round game at Swansea the following Saturday – which we lost 4-0 (I was there too ☹).

Well yes, it had been a disappointing afternoon on the pitch, but off the pitch we’d had a pretty good day. Lots of friends and family about, a decent atmosphere at the ground, and stress-free travelling for me and Alfie. Sometimes you’ve just got to take the small wins when the big ones elude you.

Following the winter freeze, our form never really recovered, and with two many defeats through January, February and March, we actually did well to finish in tenth place, albeit a long way off the play-offs as far as points were concerned. Orient’s rise would continue, and it was only a 3-0 defeat in their last home game of the season against Tranmere that would cost them a place in the play-offs.

[b]Up the U’s![/b]

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Knees-up Mother Brown #22 by wessex_exile
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