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|Matches of Yesteryear - PNE v U's 6/8/11|
at 21:16 15 Oct 2019
I wasn't at Chesterfield for that one, I was on honeymoon in Shetland, but I had signed up for the revolutionary new goal-text alerts on my mobile phone, including half-time and full-time scores - and all at premium rate.
By the end of the match, the U's had cost me a fortune!
|Matches of Yesteryear - PNE v U's 6/8/11|
at 21:25 11 Oct 2019
Preston North End v Colchester United
Saturday 6th August 2011
NPower Football League 1 (Tier 3)
Match #18 of the series, and we are at Deepdale for the first league match of the 2011/12 season against Preston North End. Not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I always try and do first and last game each season, so I wasn’t exactly grateful for the fixture computer landing me with a 450-mile round trip. Still, stout heart and all that, and a ridiculously early train departure saw me on my way for the 5-hour journey to the frozen north. Not quite the furthest I’ve travelled following the U’s, but certainly the furthest I’ve attempted relying on our railway network – a perilous reliance at the best of times. At one point I had the idea of popping in to the National Football Museum at Deepdale, but it turned out lack of funding had closed it a year earlier, and it wasn’t to reopen (in Manchester) until a year later.
The U’s lined up:
10..Kem Izzet (c)
22..Anthony Wordsworth (John White 83’)
7….Ashley Vincent (Lloyd James 73’)
Preston North End were managed by Phil “perma-tan” Brown, who had arrived in January that year, though too late to steer PNE away from Championship relegation. Nevertheless, PNE were (and are) a big club, and one of the top tips for an immediate return to the Championship in 2011/12. There are few player connections between the two sides, but there was one significant name starting for PNE that day, the return of Graham Alexander after a four-year stint at rivals Burnley – and to a tumultuous welcome too. For the U’s, this was also Michael Rose’s debut. I think this was the first match between the U’s and Preston since they hammered us 7-0 in the FA Cup 3rd round back in January 2010, so we really did have something to prove – and prove it we did.
Preston started brightly, roared on by a decent crowd, and Cousins was kept on his toes, fumbling and then recovering a Coutts 25-yarder, and then keeping out a shot from Alexander. However, it wasn’t all one-way traffic, and a decent free-kick from Rose was only just saved by Turner in the PNE goal. Two minutes later, Turner wasn’t as fortunate, as JJ heading into the path of Wordsworth who drove a ferocious shot into the net to send the travelling faithful delirious. Even though Preston continued to press, the score stayed 1-0 up to the U's at half-time, and for Brown, ominous cracks were beginning to show in his PNE defence.
These cracks were exploited excellently virtually straight from kick-off in the second half, when a delightful flick-on by Wordsworth saw Henderson running through clear, rounding Turner to roll the ball into the empty net – and we were in dreamland! However, the pressure was mounting, and not long after Cousins again had to struggle to keep out another decent free-kick, PNE pulled one back. On the hour, and with the crowd baying for Alexander to let fly from 30 yards out, he instead rolled a perfect pass through to Mellor in the box, who turned and shot past Cousins. However, the U’s were made of sterner stuff on that day, and instead of parking the bus and trying to hold on, went for the defensive jugular. A long ball forward leaving the Preston defence flat-footed put Odejayi and Turner in a one-on-one foot race, which Odejayi won, flicking the ball sideways into the path of Henderson, who calmly drove home to restore our two goal lead.
However, Preston were far from beaten, and a fantastic solo goal from Coutts, weaving past several U’s players, and finishing with a stunning shot past Cousins, brought them back into it in the 70th minute. By now, still not content to try and hold on, the match became a gripping end-to-end contest, with both sides going close, until Odejayi settled it. A good effort from Heath at point-blank range was brilliantly kept out by Turner, but there was Odejayi to stab home the rebound, and score a fourth for the U’s.
Forget Dreamland, we had now arrived in Utterly Mentalville…
Rarely have I witnessed such a complete performance by the U’s away from home, and against such illustrious opponents as well – perhaps only matched by our 3-0 victory at Hillsborough? Preston did what they could damage-limitation wise, but to now avail, and the match finished 4-2 to the U’s. I’m not certain, but there must have been about 300 U’s fans there that day, and the celebrations at the final whistle were truly something to behold!
Preston North End 2 (Mellor 60’, Coutts 70’) Colchester United 4 (Wordsworth 12’, Henderson 49’ 65’, Odejayi 76’)
After the match, Ward commented “We've beaten a very good team. I don't think very many will score four or win here. A major problem last year was scoring goals away from home. The finishing was a lot better, we've worked very hard at it.”
Phil Brown did turn things around for a while, going on a winning streak to lift Preston to second in the table, but injuries to key players started to take their toll. In December, having slipped back to 10th place, Preston dispensed with Brown’s services, and he remained clubless until signed by our dear friends Southend in 2013 (his first match losing the Football League Trophy final at Wembley 2-0 to Crewe, after Paul Sturrock had done all the hard work getting them there).
As for the U’s, our opening day victory propelled us to 3rd in the league, but we quickly settled back to a fairly consistent upper mid-table slot, finishing the 2011/12 season in 10th place, five places and five points ahead of Preston North End. This was John Ward’s second season in charge, and his second consecutive 10th place finish, which honestly was no mean achievement. He wasn’t so fortunate in 2012/13, and after starting nine games without a win was sacked in September of that season.
As it is of the era, I will leave you with the August image from my Xmas present calendar that year…
Up the U’s!
|Crawley Carabao cup tickets|
at 13:14 11 Oct 2019
I heard it was about 1400-1500 yesterday, once they'd gone on general sale, and others were having massive problems getting through on the phone lines all day. I'd hope we'll sell out, or be very close to it.
As you say, be nice if we could collectively generate the same amount of interest for a humdrum 3pts tomorrow, but I'll be there at least.
|Matches of Yesteryear - U's v Southend 10/2/04|
at 05:53 10 Oct 2019
Ha - had it been in my gift, I would have done so willingly Noah, but definitely wasn’t me that time. However, it is conceivable that completely by chance we found ourselves next to each other in the ground and you told me? It really does ring a bell...
at 21:40 8 Oct 2019
Sadly not, just means we have to do it against Ipshit - not a bad way to progress when all's said and done.
at 20:35 8 Oct 2019
Currently credited as an own goal, but I'm sure we'll challenge that, given it was going in anyway.
at 20:16 8 Oct 2019
Great header from Norris - 1-0 to the U's!!
I'm quite enjoying this at the moment, particularly as the Spurs kids are very good on the ball, making it a decent contest.
at 19:29 8 Oct 2019
Good job I logged into the OWS early, forgot this was a 7.30pm kick-off.
at 19:27 8 Oct 2019
Quite a strong line-up actually - emphasises how strong our squad is.
|Matches of Yesteryear - U's v Southend 10/2/04|
at 17:18 8 Oct 2019
Colchester United v Southend United
Tuesday 10th February 2004
LDV Vans Trophy (Southern Area Final First Leg)
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:
26..Paul Tierney (Wayne Andrews 66’)
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…
|Crawley Carabao cup tickets|
at 18:15 7 Oct 2019
Someone on the OMB asked the question whilst purchasing today - we've been allocated 1,600 apparently, but no idea how that splits between seats and terrace?
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