Posts Tagged ‘win’

2 May, 2009

Cuckoo FarmThe comparison with the final game three years ago wasn’t lost on many people.  Three years ago we needed a point from the final game at Yeovil to secure automatic promotion.  We got it and another chapter in the U’s history was written.  For the current chapter, the result, a 2-0 win, is nothing more than a reflection of what has been happening most of the season – saving the best performances for the away games.  It did push us back into the top half of the table so we finish in 12th place.  Firmly in the middle of the table, but on a positive note we are in the top half!  That’s also thanks to Stockport going into administration this week and having 10 points deducted, otherwise we would have been top of the bottom half of the table.

We are in something of a pivotal position with goal difference of absolutely zero.  It’s like sitting on the fence really – are we a top half team or a bottom half team?  Well, during this season we have been both.  Our away record is better than Leeds and Scunthorpe who both finished in the play-offs.   Our home form is the second worst in the division, and we have scored the least number of home goals – 21 in 23 games.  Talk about a Jeckyll and Hyde season.  We really didn’t know who was going to turn up for games at times.

I’ll wait a couple of weeks before speculating on the anticipated summer clearout, although the rumours are that the taxis are parked outside with the postcode of certain players already set in the satnav.   In one or two instances I’d even offer to pay the fare, except that I feel I’ve paid enough into their purses this season.  There have been a few movements since that game three years ago.  Only 4 of the Colchester squad turned out for both games – Gerken, Izzet and Vernon plus Cousins on the bench.  For Yeovil not one name survives from that game.  An indication of the state of the game today?  I wonder how many were in the crowd on both dates?

Congratulations to Leicester and Peterborough for earning automatic promotion.  We’ll see who joins them soon, and who replaces them even sooner.  At the other end we now know that Wycombe (Paul Lambert’s old club) will be joining us along with Brentford and Exeter.

Away form returns

18 April, 2009

img_0422_webIt’s a shame they only give full commentary on the second half on BBC Essex.  It would have been good to hear today’s goals go in at the time they happened.  I’m in desperate need of listening to a winning performance (given that home performances recently have left me completely bewildered).  The second half today sounded rather drab and although a 2-0 win away from home is quite desirable at any time, when you look at the quality of the opposition you have to feel we should have bagged a few more.

img_0459_webCuckoo Farm was announced this week as the second stop on a world tour of football league grounds by the BBC Sport team of Tom Fordyce and Ben Dirs.  See their blog.  I just had to have my say of course, and a collection of my photos from the first season here at Cuckoo Farm is now available on Flickr.  It just goes to show that despite our lack of performance recent history has put us on the map.  Sometimes we forget what a rich set of experiences we have had in Colchester in the last 30 – 40 years.  I dragged out my old matchday programmes the other day and found the visits of top flight teams such as Leeds (1971 of course), Aston Villa (1979), and Manchester United (1979).  As a matter of interest today’s opponents Hereford played their first ever Football League match at Layer Road in 1972!

Lions tamed?

31 March, 2009

img_1492_webJust when we thought it was time to start thinking about next season they go and register another away win at Millwall.  That’s twice this season we’ve come away from The Den with a 1-0 victory. It lifts us three places back to 10th but still 10 points from the last of the play-off places.

Making up 10 points from 6 games is not really a possibility – is it?  That’s ten points more than at least one of the top six teams AND assuming none of the three teams immediately above us also have a good run in.  It’s more complicated than that but I think the maths are clearly stacked against us.

I’ll bet they go and beat Leeds on Saturday and make us all think it’s possible again.

Cracking Result!

7 March, 2009

img_0412_webNow this is the sort of performance that’s needed at times like this.  A 1-0 away win, against a team above us in the table, that moves us up two places and ever nearer an end of season finish we hadn’t even dreamed about at one stage.  An early goal and then hold on to the lead.  Can’t say I could have predicted that result being achieved in this fashion, but it’s another indication of the immense change in attitude of the team as a whole under the current manager.  How many times have we seen the reverse of this happen to us at home this year?  Now Oldham and their fans know what it’s like as well.   The trouble with results like this is that you start to speculate unreasonably about the team’s chances and it really is the old cliche of ‘one game at a time’.  As we enter the final quarter of the season it’s very much like the final quarter of the football pitch.  We mustn’t lose our nerve with goal in sight.  Let all those around us display the nerves and we can calmly, but assuredly, head on through and achieve the results we now deserve.

Game 17 – Stockport

24 February, 2009

img_1571_webSecond home game this week and still another one to come on Saturday.  It was make or break today after three consecutive losses it was a test of character tonight.  It’s a time to test the nerve and fitness of anyone, but tonight would show who was prepared to stand up and be counted.  Who can face the music after some disappointing results and still make their presence felt?  Well, I’ve come to accept that nothing is certain in this game, but the club were perhaps expecting a little too much from their stalwarts tonight. I’m actually talking about the supporters.  Unless you’ve got a season ticket it must be financially disastrous to attempt three visits to Cuckoo Farm in a week.  As it happens it’s clear we have a hard core of support of around two and a half thousand.  There weren’t many from Stockport but as usual they huddled together at the back of the South Stand, and they made a valiant but futile attempt to rouse their team.

img_1574_webIn some respects we just about matched the away support in terms of numbers in one place.  We had pockets of fans in E8 and the family enclosure, a couple of small groups in the North Stand and a few dribbles in West.  At times however there was some near success in getting a combined chant going but not for very long.  Obviously the game’s only goal got us cheering together but not much else.  The crowd noise dynamics were quite interesting tonight.  It was quiet one moment and you could hear the players talking as though this was a reserve team game, and a cough could echo round the stadium.  The next moment the scattered few mustered a hearty growl and could sound like 5,000.

img_1580_webThe best emotion of the night was scoring an early goal.  It makes such a change to the atmosphere when we do that, and the warmth it brings on a cold evening is very welcome.  One set of circumstances did bring the whole crowd together in amazement.  In these technological days we have got used to the substitute and ‘added time’ display board being held aloft by the fourth official.  What took us all by surprise was the small piece of paper with the number 3 that was presented to indicate three minutes added time in the first half.  In the second half we looked on eagerly to see how the substitutions would be handled.  Well, it was a bit like an ice dance contest with the dancer’s score on display.  Perhaps we should bring our own cards to show the ref how we feel.  How about red and yellow cards when we feel the man in the middle isn’t sure what to do?  They have 4s and 6s in cricket – why not something for soccer?  Perhaps we need a picture of a cuckoo to hold up when we plant a goal in the other team’s nest.  Hmm,  food for thought perhaps?

Another Double

31 January, 2009

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After the way we started the season you could be forgiven for thinking this headline represented another attempt to drown my sorrows after yet another defeat has been clinched from the jaws of victory.  But no,  this is the second time in a week that we have completed a double win over one of our League One rivals.  Northampton was the first, on Tuesday night, but this 2-0 win away at Carlisle means we have scored seven past them without reply in our two games this season.  I don’t always believe the commentary on the radio but it did sound like we had  most of the play and for the first time this season I felt quite confident all afternoon that we would end up as victors.

img_1149_webIt’s quite comforting to note that we have gone the whole of January unbeaten and are now nicely placed within striking distance of the play-off positions.  The last time we had a month like that was in September 2007 when we took the Championship by storm and frightened the shorts off most teams for some time.  ‘Time’ gets called on most good things eventually, but for now bartender I’d like to order another double, and Stockport will do for now.

Game 14 – Northampton

27 January, 2009

img_1485_webIt’s difficult to keep track of our own squad this season.  Another new boy in the mix tonight – Simon Hackney, newly acquired from Carlisle, and it was interesting to see that he came on at the hour mark – the same point at which he was substituted by Carlisle when we played them here back in October.    This was one of the lowest attendances of the season (below 4,000 for only the second time) and rather surprising given the recent run of results.  Mind you it was cold, so that probably kept a few home loving people away and it takes a certain type of hardened supporter (of which I’m not one) to travel to a League One away match on a midweek evening in the winter months.

img_1492_webThe most notable  feature of the first half of the game was the negative play by the Cobblers.  A goal up after 18 minutes and they decided they could keep this up for the rest of the game.  Blatant time-wasting in the first quarter of a match is not a pretty sight, but at least the Us were up for the challenge and they kept plodding away – demonstrating how the team spirit has changed in recent weeks.   The  away tactic backfired just before half tme when they had a player sent off  and they had to re-think their strategy.  Returning after the break Northampton nailed their colours to the mast when they replaced their two front men and settled for a packed midfield and defence.  Loads more time wasting followed and it was severely punished by two goals in 89 seconds.

img_1499_webI’m not sure I can keep on taking the early disappointments of going a goal down before the team wakes up and comes back into the game.  I’d much prefer it if we took the lead and stayed there.  Anyway the mood of the sparse support was greatly improved by the double strike and the atmosphere on the trek away from the stadium after the game was far more bearable than it might have been.  Despite the constant comings and goings, of loans in and out, and above average numbers of injuries I am sensing some stability in the squad and that is showing in parts of the team performance.

Game 13 – Cheltenham

17 January, 2009

img_1467_webIt’s all about targets now. Setting ourselves small, but realistic, targets for every couple of weeks. Next one is to overhaul Leeds, which also demonstrates the fact that it’s useful to make each target doubly satisfying.  For instance, moving up the table combined with watching Southend drop Way Down below us was almost heaven.   Speaking of which, there was collective gasp of surprise around the ground when the name of one of the Cheltenham players was announced today.  Elvis was in the stadium.   Sadly for the opposition, today was Heartbreak Hotel and All Shook Up after going a goal up and then conceding three.

img_1475_webSomething was wrong with the scoreboard today.  I have a Suspicion the operator was playing one of those sliding puzzle games and it wasn’t until half time that he found the missing piece and we had something to broadcast what was happening on the pitch – which wasn’t much in the first half.   My son wondered if the U’s practice scoring goals – he missed the Carlisle game and has lost the knack of celebrating a good crop of goals in a home game.  Not any more.

img_1470_webCheltenham’s keeper had a nightmare today, especially in the second half.  Clearly he’d lost his Good Luck Charm and after a few misplaced hooks and slices from set pieces as well as back passes he felt the full attention of the home crowd for the last half hour.  He was taunted every time the ball came near him and he didn’t disappoint us.  Nothing went right for him.  The crowd was Always on his Mind.  I hope he has a great season from now on.

img_1469_webIn the second half Cheltenham brought on their Devil in Disguise.  Finnegan came on just after the hour mark and lasted just 11 minutes, picking up two yellow cards for rash tackles and was sent on his way – meaning the ref had A Little Less Conversation for the remainder of the match.   I have to say now it feels like home at last.  Even Dean Hammond remarked on this when interviewed on BBC Essex later on.  It was especially enjoyable walking down United Way after the game where the atmosphere was brighter than usual.   That’s The Wonder of the U’s!