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Deja vu all over again at Carlisle! 17:54 - Feb 11 with 589 viewsdurham_exile

Sadly, the misery continues, it is now well into three years since I have witnessed a Colchester united victory. I am also becoming desensitised to the disappointment and accepted the result almost with total alacrity.

The day had started well with brighter weather and milder temperatures than of late. Even a delay on the M6 at Junction 41 was managed without drama and I was able to drop Mrs Durham off at Carlisle City Centre for some retail therapy whilst I went to the game.

The official car park at Brunton Park to the right of the Warwick Road end of the ground always has an area subject to flooding and yesterday was no exception. The area was nicely churned up and boggy in parts but at £3 I suppose it represents reasonable value for money.

It should also be noted that the stewards at Carlisle are always very good. Unobtrusive and sensible in the way that they go about their business.

I was in the ground in good time and took my seat. Carlisle is one of those grounds where you could sit with a view of the pitch from some distance behind the goal at the Warwick Road end. Years ago, you could still stand behind the goal, but this has long since been closed to spectators for league games. Indeed, I saw Karl Duguid score his first goal for Colchester whilst standing behind the goal in a 3-1 defeat on a Tuesday evening.

Yesterday the weather was a balmy 9 degrees Celsius and dry at kick off although the breeze made it feel cooler. The pitch was in very good condition.

The attendance was 4,006 of which 144 had made the journey from Colchester (or Sheffield or Durham etc). The faithful were in good voice throughout.

JM had decided to line up 3,4,2,1

Walker

Eastman Prosser Kent

Jackson Comley Stevenson Wright

Senior Mandron

Guthrie

Subs:
Gilmartin Murray Lapslie Inniss Ogedi-Uzokwe Mandeville Szmodics

Frankly I was amazed to see Sean Murray on the bench after reading all the doo and gloom all week about his injury (however he was clearly not fit and should not have played at all).

It was good to see Luke Prosser play, he has been sadly missed. Colchester started brightly and within the first few minutes it was clear that Wolves have a gem of a player in Ben Stevenson. If he only cost them £500k then that was a steal. He is a real midfield footballer, vision brilliant, passing superb and tackling light a dervish. He must be the number one name on JM team sheet from now until the end of the season.

Sam Walker in fluorescent yellow shirt and shorts made two inspired saves in the first half, the first to deny a point-blank range header from Cole Stockton and the second when he palmed away a well struck shot from the same player. In truth therefore, Carlisle could have been two goals to the good before we scored but that would have been injustice because Colchester were clearly the better team in the first half and deserved to go in leading.

The goal was scored on 44 minutes by Courtney Senior, who is skilful, pacy and not afraid to take players on. He deserved his goal for the hard work and yards that he had put in. The ball had been partially saved by the keeper from a shot by Kurtis Guthrie but when it opened up for Senior there was no chance that he would miss. Of course, the assist was an exquisite through ball from Ben Stevenson.

Now yesterday was an opportunity to have a reunion with Jamal Campbell-Ryce (who famously played in that game at Yeovil in May 2006 whilst on loan from Southend). Now without wishing to be unkind age has caught up with him, but he still was able to swing in the cross that led to Stockton’s bullet header which Walker saved in the first half. He tired visibly and was normally second best to Drey Wright who marshalled him on the left side of the field.

Half time and the temperature was dropping slightly. The tea and sausage roll were keenly priced at £3.50 and were not bad with a good meat filling and light pastry for the sausage roll, whilst the tea was hot and warming.

The start of the second half brought no changes from either team. Colchester were still bossing proceedings but with JM influence they were playing deeper which is always a mistake. This is JM’s biggest failing, an inability to see teams off and score a second goal to kill the game.

His first change was an enforced one. Kurtis Guthrie had gone down in the first half and was clearly caught again on the ankle by veteran Clint Hill. He was unable to carry on and after 55 minutes JM brought Mandeville on for his debut. I was screaming for Junior to be introduced but JM is clearly handling him just like Macca Bonne and limiting his game time to only a few minutes.

Now Liam Mandeville was described by JM as a one on three man so watch out Crewe, but I have to say he never got into the game and looked lost at times.

The lively Senior was substituted on 72 minutes by Sammie Szmodics. The £1m pound man was totally ineffectual and added nothing to the attacking play.

Now as Colchester played deeper, and Carlisle were encouraged forward we conceded two free kicks on the edge of the box. The first was slightly to the left of the goal just on the edge of the box and the dead ball specialist Devitt struck the first effort top Walker’s right (as we were looking at it) and it clipped the top of the bar.

I was beginning to dream of a victory and another Away win for the U’s. Could the jinx be beaten? Sadly, it was not to be.

The second dangerous one was almost dead centre just on the edge of the “D” and this time Devitt curled the ball past Walker and into the top left-hand corner of the goal on 79 minutes. In fairness it wa s a magnificent free kick and Walker had no chance.

Now had JM already decided to make his third change before the free kick was awarded. I don’t know, but he then brought Ben Stevenson off for Sean Murray on 80 minutes. I suspect that this was a shut-up shop move (after the horse had bolted to mix metaphors). I do not think that Murray was fit, and he could have brought Marmite on instead for the vital last ten minutes.

Ironically Colchester then decided to have a go for the winner. Mikael Mandron (who the Colchester supporter from Sheffield told me we had paid £500k for!!!) started to look far more positive and weaved around a couple of defenders before striking the right-hand post with a fierce drive.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be, and another two points were dropped from a winning position.
The final whistle was greeted like a victory by the Carlisle supporters. The faithful accepted the result and I was resigned to yet another game without seeing the U’s win.

Plaudits; Ben Stevenson is an outstanding footballer and his quality showed, he will surely grace the Premier League with Wolves and at £500k they have a real class act and a bargain to boot. Courtney Senior is superb and should play every game. He is an exciting talent.

Luke Prosser was impressive and back to his best, whilst Frankie Kent is developing into a very good defender. Tom Eastman had another solid game, but I do not understand why he needs to find himself on the right wing when he is neither suited to such a position nor capable of storming down the wing.

Brickbats; Comley was too easily dispossessed yesterday at times and when he allowed the ball to roll under his foot in the first half a dangerous opportunity was presented to the Carlisle forwards.

Drey Wright’s position in the team must be threatened by a fit again Olamide Shodipo and definitely when the long-awaited return from injury of Brennan Dickenson occurs. Wright seems to have lost pace and he has no end product. I thought that he was awful.
Guthrie is now set for another spell on the sidelines which must afford Junior his chance in the first team.

Kane Vincent-Young was also missed yesterday, I do hope that he is not injured.
Szmodics had little time to influence the game but looked out of sorts and I think the transfer talk has impacted upon him and his game. He need to get back to basic and find his goal scoring boots again.

The U’s remain 11th and have only 14 games left to secure the 29 points needed to achieve a top seven finish.

JM has some thinking to do ahead of Tuesday’s game against another stuttering team in Coventry City who lost to Accrington in front of over 28,000 at the Ricoh. One thing is certain, three points is an absolute must.

The final 14 matches from which 29 points must be garnered:

Coventry H
Crewe A
Barnet H
Morecambe A
Mansfield A
Yeovil H
Stevenage A
Luton H
Forest Green A
Accrington H
Notts Co H
Lincoln A
Swindon H
Exeter A

I am hoping to attend at least 6 of them, surely the jinx can be broken.

Up the U’s

[Post edited 11 Feb 18:44]

Durham_exile

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Deja vu all over again at Carlisle! on 18:06 - Feb 11 with 583 viewswessex_exile

Excellent report as usual Durham, many thanks!

In the circumstances, if we have a whip-round, what price for you not to attend those 6 matches? ;-)

Up the U's
Poll: How will we do in 2016/17

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Deja vu all over again at Carlisle! on 18:53 - Feb 11 with 575 viewsdurham_exile

Deja vu all over again at Carlisle! on 18:06 - Feb 11 by wessex_exile

Excellent report as usual Durham, many thanks!

In the circumstances, if we have a whip-round, what price for you not to attend those 6 matches? ;-)


Wessex I have to say that it is beginning to get to me. I have never spent as long before watching the U's without a victory.

Admittedly living so far away from the WHCS (a 520 mile round trip) means that my home matches are limited (the last was Plymouth, last season, I saw both games home and away; 2-1 defeat at home park and 0-0 at home) but the number of games now is getting close to 30 since a victory. Of course there have been several draws (normally late penalties or free kicks to deny the vital three points) but it is a real concern.

I am not a superstitious person, but it is unbelievable and worse still I am beginning to accept the inevitable before the 90 minutes are up. When Mandron hit the post yesterday I thought that the game was up at that point.

Morecambe will be my next game. If we can break the hoodoo I will probably invade the pitch and be banned from further games!!!!

Seriously though up the U's and let us hope that the Sky Blues can be vanquished on Tuesday.


Durham_exile

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Deja vu all over again at Carlisle! on 19:21 - Feb 11 with 569 viewsgerry_us

Deja vu all over again at Carlisle! on 18:53 - Feb 11 by durham_exile

Wessex I have to say that it is beginning to get to me. I have never spent as long before watching the U's without a victory.

Admittedly living so far away from the WHCS (a 520 mile round trip) means that my home matches are limited (the last was Plymouth, last season, I saw both games home and away; 2-1 defeat at home park and 0-0 at home) but the number of games now is getting close to 30 since a victory. Of course there have been several draws (normally late penalties or free kicks to deny the vital three points) but it is a real concern.

I am not a superstitious person, but it is unbelievable and worse still I am beginning to accept the inevitable before the 90 minutes are up. When Mandron hit the post yesterday I thought that the game was up at that point.

Morecambe will be my next game. If we can break the hoodoo I will probably invade the pitch and be banned from further games!!!!

Seriously though up the U's and let us hope that the Sky Blues can be vanquished on Tuesday.



Now, that will be a sight worth seeing, Durham invading the pitch. I just hope I am there for the event, Mansfield maybe after a big lunch Peter? I do however fancy a win at Crewe especially if you are at home...
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Deja vu all over again at Carlisle! on 21:50 - Feb 11 with 544 viewsbwildered

For info .
Accrington Stanley came away from the Rioch with a two nil victory . Described on Sky sport has a football lesson and are pushing for a promotion place .
So a home win over Coventry on Tues night a must .

Poll: Prediction of final place for season 2017/18 season.

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Deja vu all over again at Carlisle! on 10:02 - Feb 12 with 501 viewsHungryStudent

A good review Durham, hitting the nail on the head.

To summarise in one sentence: Carlisle away, a carbon copy of Port Vale.

With Stevenson, Senior, Wright, Guthrie and Jackson we found it so easy getting forward into the final third with the ball. Senior jinxed past players with ease, Guthrie made direct runs forward and Jackson bombed down the right... But once in these positions, No End Product. Jackson's crosses weak and shots poor, Drey Wright lacking composure, laroping his shot off for a throw on. Mandron dilly dallying on the ball allowing for the defence to get back in.

Senior the only real danger once in the final third, but inexperienced, he beautifully set up Jackson with a back heel only for Jackson to meekly curl the ball into the hands of the keeper.

I was surprised not to see our top goalscorer and best finisher Szmodics getting game time as we clearly lacked finishing ability. Play a goalscorer/finisher with Stevenson and Senior and they'll score plenty.

1-0 at HT and perhaps luckily as Carlisle had a few good chances, yet we took the chance and should've capitalised on it.

Start of the second half saw us drop deep and create nothing for 30 minutes. I'm a avid follower of Experimental 361 and his timelines of chances throughout matches indicated we had "ZERO attempts on goal" from minute 50 to minute 80. This confirmed my thoughts whilst watching the game. Frustrating beyond belief as we clearly had both the attacking and defensive edge over a rather lacklustre Carlisle side. Yet we allowed them back into the game by sitting deep and inviting pressure.

The first free kick that rocketed off the bar was an indicator of what was to come and surprise surprise, as soon as the goal goes in, it's back to getting forward and creating clear chances. Szmodics shoots just wide from the edge of the box, Mandeville crosses the ball which is headed off the line, Mandron squirms in the box and fires one onto the post... Again this is indicated on Experimental 361's timeline... Why does McGreal insist on attempting to see the game out for 40 minutes without any attempt at attacking the opposition? We would be much better off looking to control the game, forcing Carlisle forward and then breaking dangerously with quick clever players like Senior, Szmodics and Wright? Taking the games by the horns, looking to kill off teams rather than meekly hiding and hoping the opposition won't find the net.
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Deja vu all over again at Carlisle! on 10:55 - Feb 12 with 492 viewsPinault_Noir

Marvellous report as ever Peter - I didn't even need to be there!!! Too busy sweeping all the snows of the Limousin.

Don't get disheartened. I think your 'record' is extraordinary and i doubt there are many supporters of other clubs with such an unenviable record....anywhere. When I was in Somerset I only went to away games [c15 a season] and in our "struggling to stay in Lg 1 period" I did go 30 games in two seasons without a win but your record puts you way beyond that and I agree it does get just a little bit demoralising. I won't pay into Wessex' whip-round because we'll win the next time. All we need is a different management style which tries to win games by deployoing the raw material in a way appropriate to its strengths. I do not believe from what I have see this is happening. Maybe next year when these useful young players have matured. We shall see but please keep the faith as you would say and you will get that win and your sprint onto the field of play!!
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Deja vu all over again at Carlisle! on 18:11 - Feb 12 with 429 viewsdurham_exile

Deja vu all over again at Carlisle! on 10:02 - Feb 12 by HungryStudent

A good review Durham, hitting the nail on the head.

To summarise in one sentence: Carlisle away, a carbon copy of Port Vale.

With Stevenson, Senior, Wright, Guthrie and Jackson we found it so easy getting forward into the final third with the ball. Senior jinxed past players with ease, Guthrie made direct runs forward and Jackson bombed down the right... But once in these positions, No End Product. Jackson's crosses weak and shots poor, Drey Wright lacking composure, laroping his shot off for a throw on. Mandron dilly dallying on the ball allowing for the defence to get back in.

Senior the only real danger once in the final third, but inexperienced, he beautifully set up Jackson with a back heel only for Jackson to meekly curl the ball into the hands of the keeper.

I was surprised not to see our top goalscorer and best finisher Szmodics getting game time as we clearly lacked finishing ability. Play a goalscorer/finisher with Stevenson and Senior and they'll score plenty.

1-0 at HT and perhaps luckily as Carlisle had a few good chances, yet we took the chance and should've capitalised on it.

Start of the second half saw us drop deep and create nothing for 30 minutes. I'm a avid follower of Experimental 361 and his timelines of chances throughout matches indicated we had "ZERO attempts on goal" from minute 50 to minute 80. This confirmed my thoughts whilst watching the game. Frustrating beyond belief as we clearly had both the attacking and defensive edge over a rather lacklustre Carlisle side. Yet we allowed them back into the game by sitting deep and inviting pressure.

The first free kick that rocketed off the bar was an indicator of what was to come and surprise surprise, as soon as the goal goes in, it's back to getting forward and creating clear chances. Szmodics shoots just wide from the edge of the box, Mandeville crosses the ball which is headed off the line, Mandron squirms in the box and fires one onto the post... Again this is indicated on Experimental 361's timeline... Why does McGreal insist on attempting to see the game out for 40 minutes without any attempt at attacking the opposition? We would be much better off looking to control the game, forcing Carlisle forward and then breaking dangerously with quick clever players like Senior, Szmodics and Wright? Taking the games by the horns, looking to kill off teams rather than meekly hiding and hoping the opposition won't find the net.


HungryStudent thanks for your comments, I totally agree no end product after all the approach play.

I think Szmodics is having a "Mahrez" moment after failing to get any firm offers from Bournemouth etc., which I have to say was all paper driven.

It is unfortunate because he was on fire for the U's prior to all the speculation.

Hopefully a better result against the Sky Blues.

Up the U's

Durham_exile

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Deja vu all over again at Carlisle! on 18:18 - Feb 12 with 428 viewsdurham_exile

Deja vu all over again at Carlisle! on 10:55 - Feb 12 by Pinault_Noir

Marvellous report as ever Peter - I didn't even need to be there!!! Too busy sweeping all the snows of the Limousin.

Don't get disheartened. I think your 'record' is extraordinary and i doubt there are many supporters of other clubs with such an unenviable record....anywhere. When I was in Somerset I only went to away games [c15 a season] and in our "struggling to stay in Lg 1 period" I did go 30 games in two seasons without a win but your record puts you way beyond that and I agree it does get just a little bit demoralising. I won't pay into Wessex' whip-round because we'll win the next time. All we need is a different management style which tries to win games by deployoing the raw material in a way appropriate to its strengths. I do not believe from what I have see this is happening. Maybe next year when these useful young players have matured. We shall see but please keep the faith as you would say and you will get that win and your sprint onto the field of play!!


Pinault Noir - thanks for the encouragement - I must admit that as tough as it appears I am definitely keeping the faith and know that the unwelcome record will soon be broken.

You sound as though you've had more snow, than we've seen in Durham.

I agree about the depth of young talented footballers at the club. Courtney Senior is impressive, Frankie Kent likewise, but Wolves have unearthed a gem in Stevenson. I hope that he punishes his old team tomorrow evening.

Up the U's

Durham_exile

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Deja vu all over again at Carlisle! on 22:03 - Feb 12 with 404 viewsHungryStudent

Deja vu all over again at Carlisle! on 18:11 - Feb 12 by durham_exile

HungryStudent thanks for your comments, I totally agree no end product after all the approach play.

I think Szmodics is having a "Mahrez" moment after failing to get any firm offers from Bournemouth etc., which I have to say was all paper driven.

It is unfortunate because he was on fire for the U's prior to all the speculation.

Hopefully a better result against the Sky Blues.

Up the U's


Once Dickenson and KVY are back i'm certain we will start to see us really put teams away. Our Wing backs ability to get forward and cross is paramount and these two (especially Dickenson, are far better than Drey/Jackson)

Szmodics is an interesting case. To me it's baffling we start Guthrie, a player who's contract is up at the end of the season, who is yet to sign a new deal and was close to leaving in January (He was the player we received a bid for) over our top goalscorer. That said, McGreal's recent comments in the Gazette indicated that he doesn't see Szmodics as a striker, but a CAM and with Courtney Senior firing on all cylinders (6 games, 3 goals, 2 assists) It's difficult to drop him.

Now I'm not as "In the know" as some, but I'm quite sure I would've heard something if Szmodics in particular threw his toys out the pram and so i'm unsure this is to do with attitude.

I understand different tactics for different games but surely we would want to play Szmodics in order to put him in the window, and hope to capitalise on his good form?

I mean, this is the whole point of the academy, to develop players, hope they perform in the first team before looking to move them on for a healthy sum, which can be re-invested into the first and youth teams, thus completing the circle of youth! It's vitally important we show other clubs and our own supporters that we can do this.

That said, it's not transparent and we as fans cannot know everything that goes on, we must trust McGreal with his decisions.

Anyhow, onto Coventry, 3 points is a must and i'm quietly confident.

My XI:

(3-4-1-2)

Walker

Kent
Prosser
Eastman

Jackson (Dickenson to replace for last 20)
Stevenson
Comley
Wright

Senior (Junior to replace after 60 with Szmodics dropping into the whole)

Mandron
Szmodics


With Guthrie injured Junior must be getting close to his first start Noah ;)
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