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Matches of Yesteryear - Crewe v U's 17/2/18 12:27 - Oct 5 with 175 viewswessex_exile

Crewe Alexandra v Colchester United
Saturday 17th February 2018
Sky Bet League 2 (Tier 4)
Attendance 3,548


Match #16 of the series, and we return to Gresty Rd, and this one only two seasons ago. I’ve been following the U’s for getting close to 50 years now, and for most of that time since I left for Bradford University in 1981, as an exile. As a result, and like most long-suffering exiles, I’ve learned to travel more in hope than expectation, and take whatever positives I can out of each match, because chances are (probability-wise) what I’m not going to see is a victory. However, occasionally the U’s do win, and what days they are – whether it’s a thoroughly deserved crushing of our opponents, or “one off the arse” in the 92nd minute steals. Sometimes, it’s a battling hard-earned backs-to-the-walls performance to grind out a satisfactory point. More often, it is defeat, but still nevertheless a hard-working, disciplined performance, or we simply have to accept we were beaten by the better team.

And then there are days like today…



The U’s lined up:
1….Sam Walker
5….Luke Prosser (c)
18..Tom Eastman
6….Frankie Kent
2….Ryan Jackson
7….Drey Wright
14..Brandon Comley
17..Ben Stevenson (Sean Murray 70’)
20..Courtney Senior (Brennan Dickenson 62’)
27..Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (Liam Mandeville 65’)
19..Mikael Mandron

The obvious name of note in the Crewe squad would have been Chris Porter, who had joined Crewe from the U’s at the end of the previous season. However, he wasn’t even on the team sheet – I’m not 100% certain, but I think he was injured and missed out the later stages of that season? Also missing was Sammie Szmodics, apparently out with a back injury. At the time, the U’s were still in the hunt for a play-off spot, but our form since Christmas had been very patchy, with only two victories, albeit one was the Tuesday before this match at home to Coventry City, and we had slipped out of the play-offs to 10th place. Crewe, on the other hand, were in terrible form, losing five and drawing one of their previous six matches, and were perilously close to slipping into the relegation dog-fight.

Me and Alfie drove up for this game, and parked up in the stadium car park. Apologies if I’m mixing this one up with another trip to Gresty Rd, but I’m fairly sure there had been a torrential cloud burst before kick-off, leaving everyone milling about outside whilst the referee carried out a pitch inspection – sadly, it passed the inspection. Fellow U’sual regulars Noah and Durham were also at the match, though this was one where we all spectacularly failed to meet up with each other.

As for the game, there are plenty of reports from different agencies still widely available on the internet, but I will summarise as best I can from my own recollections. The U’s certainly started brightly, passing the ball around reasonably well, and testing their ‘keeper on a few occasions. A Diaz Wright shot from outside the box, after good work by Junior, was turned around the post (reasonably comfortably) by Ben Garrett. Two more long-range efforts by Stevenson were also comfortably dealt with by Garrett. It wasn’t all one-way traffic though, and as the half went on, Crewe were beginning to get back into the game, with Walker being called on to keep the U’s in it on a couple of occasions. What was most telling, however, was that despite all of our fancy triangles in midfield, we were making precious little real penetration in the final third, with only long-range efforts having any real threat (and really that threat wasn’t much). In particular, Jackson and Wright on the wings were really not working. Clearly expecting a more positive outcome, I filmed one of our free-kicks – this was about as exciting as things were to get I’m afraid.



Still, 0-0 at half-time, and with plenty of possession in our favour, we were all hopeful of better things to come second half. Sadly we were to be disappointed – if our final third threat was minimal in the first half, it became non-existent in the second half. Jackson (who didn’t look fit from the first minute) and Wright had achieved little on their respective flanks first half, so were swapped over for the second half, but nothing came of that. What we needed was a kick up the arse, and Crewe duly obliged in the 60th minute. A free-kick barely a yard outside our penalty area was blasted into the wall, and there was Miller to stab home at close range as the ball spun off. At half-time that wouldn’t have been deserved, but 15 minutes into the second half, it definitely was. McGreal immediately swapped Senior for Dickenson and Junior for Mandeville, but still our failure to find the final ball dogged us, still trying nothing but long-range speculative efforts – Dickenson even had a go from what must have been 40 yards out! To be honest, Walker was becoming our man of the match as far as I was concerned, even if he for some reason decided to play the second half with a low sun in his eyes and no cap!

By full-time, we had been beaten by a team who looked as poor as their recent form suggested, who had shamelessly wasted time as often as possible (even before they were 1-0 up), and whilst we were definitely not helped by some very poor and weak officials, if you have to rely on competent officials in League 2, you’re already doomed. Despite our apparent statistical dominance in attack (14 attempts on goal, five on target), this was about as lacklustre as you could get – we deserved nothing from this game, and we received it in abundance. Me and Alfie left on the final whistle – there was nothing to applaud the team for, so we were off.

Crewe 1 (Miller 60’) Colchester United 0

Though it pains me to remind you all, we finished the season in a very disappointing 13th place, only just top half of the table. This result kick-started Crewe a bit, and they went on to win six and draw two of their remaining 12 matches, to finish just two places behind the U’s. If this particular black cloud of a match did have a silver lining, take another look at mine and Alfie’s tickets. Yep, a second occasion where I just happened to be in the right place and the right time, as someone thrust a pair of complimentary tickets in my hand as we wandered up to the turnstiles.



Definitely not an earth-moving experience as matches following the U’s go, but it was elsewhere, with a 4.4 magnitude earthquake hitting south Wales and south-west England about 30 minutes before the match. It passed me by unnoticed, but certainly was felt by some in the area.



“Did the earth move for you darling?”

Most definitely not…

Edit: *Drey Wright
[Post edited 5 Oct 13:12]

Up the U's
Poll: How will we do in 2016/17
Blog: Matches of Yesteryear - PNE v U's 6/8/11

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Matches of Yesteryear - Crewe v U's 17/2/18 on 20:28 - Oct 7 with 129 viewsghughes11

Interesting to compare teams of previous seasons, versus our team versus Stevenage.

Have we improved the team and squad enough to get out of this division this season.

Different formation, but I have tried to compare player vs player and current performance of same player.



1….Sam Walker < Gerken
5….Luke Prosser (c) < Prosser this season
18..Tom Eastman < Eastman this season (or ever!)

2….Ryan Jackson < Jackson this season (gets better and better every game)
7….Drey Wright = Bramall - (both have their strengths going forward, however lack final product and need to improve their defending)
14..Brandon Comley < Comley this season (most improved player?)
17..Ben Stevenson (Sean Murray 70’) > Stevenson this season (what a player when he first signed for us, although great vs Stevenage).
20..Courtney Senior (Brennan Dickenson 62’) < Poku (Although Senior this season is better than Senior of the past and Poku)
27..Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (Liam Mandeville 65’) < Nouble (best attacking player in the squad)
19..Mikael Mandron < Norris (Norris struggling for goals at the moment, but I believe he can turn it around and I have more confidence in him than Mandron in front of goal).

6….Frankie Kent = Robinson (can't compare as different positions. Have we missed Franky at the back or grateful for Robinson's goals and link up play? At this stage of the seaon - probably would have Robinson!


Let me know your thoughts. Can we finally get promoted?!?!
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Matches of Yesteryear - Crewe v U's 17/2/18 on 21:11 - Oct 7 with 123 viewsdurham_exile

Matches of Yesteryear - Crewe v U's 17/2/18 on 20:28 - Oct 7 by ghughes11

Interesting to compare teams of previous seasons, versus our team versus Stevenage.

Have we improved the team and squad enough to get out of this division this season.

Different formation, but I have tried to compare player vs player and current performance of same player.



1….Sam Walker < Gerken
5….Luke Prosser (c) < Prosser this season
18..Tom Eastman < Eastman this season (or ever!)

2….Ryan Jackson < Jackson this season (gets better and better every game)
7….Drey Wright = Bramall - (both have their strengths going forward, however lack final product and need to improve their defending)
14..Brandon Comley < Comley this season (most improved player?)
17..Ben Stevenson (Sean Murray 70’) > Stevenson this season (what a player when he first signed for us, although great vs Stevenage).
20..Courtney Senior (Brennan Dickenson 62’) < Poku (Although Senior this season is better than Senior of the past and Poku)
27..Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (Liam Mandeville 65’) < Nouble (best attacking player in the squad)
19..Mikael Mandron < Norris (Norris struggling for goals at the moment, but I believe he can turn it around and I have more confidence in him than Mandron in front of goal).

6….Frankie Kent = Robinson (can't compare as different positions. Have we missed Franky at the back or grateful for Robinson's goals and link up play? At this stage of the seaon - probably would have Robinson!


Let me know your thoughts. Can we finally get promoted?!?!


An interesting comparison between the teams.

In truth the player I have missed is Kane Vincent-Young who could play premier League football.

I don't think that we have missed the other three transfers out this summer.

Kwame Poku is a real gem and is going to be a very exciting player for the U's.

I agree Comley is a transformed player this season.

We need to sign Theo Robinson In January.

I'm looking forward to the return of Pell and a fit Harriott.

JM will then have a real selection headache.

Yes promotion this season automatically and if they stay fit the players can go up as champions.

UTU's

Durham_exile

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Matches of Yesteryear - Crewe v U's 17/2/18 on 08:25 - Oct 8 with 107 viewsFruitbat

Matches of Yesteryear - Crewe v U's 17/2/18 on 21:11 - Oct 7 by durham_exile

An interesting comparison between the teams.

In truth the player I have missed is Kane Vincent-Young who could play premier League football.

I don't think that we have missed the other three transfers out this summer.

Kwame Poku is a real gem and is going to be a very exciting player for the U's.

I agree Comley is a transformed player this season.

We need to sign Theo Robinson In January.

I'm looking forward to the return of Pell and a fit Harriott.

JM will then have a real selection headache.

Yes promotion this season automatically and if they stay fit the players can go up as champions.

UTU's


Ipswich fan I work with is already starting to think that they'll do well to hang on to KVY in January.
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Matches of Yesteryear - Crewe v U's 17/2/18 on 13:17 - Oct 8 with 96 viewsPinault_Noir

Matches of Yesteryear - Crewe v U's 17/2/18 on 20:28 - Oct 7 by ghughes11

Interesting to compare teams of previous seasons, versus our team versus Stevenage.

Have we improved the team and squad enough to get out of this division this season.

Different formation, but I have tried to compare player vs player and current performance of same player.



1….Sam Walker < Gerken
5….Luke Prosser (c) < Prosser this season
18..Tom Eastman < Eastman this season (or ever!)

2….Ryan Jackson < Jackson this season (gets better and better every game)
7….Drey Wright = Bramall - (both have their strengths going forward, however lack final product and need to improve their defending)
14..Brandon Comley < Comley this season (most improved player?)
17..Ben Stevenson (Sean Murray 70’) > Stevenson this season (what a player when he first signed for us, although great vs Stevenage).
20..Courtney Senior (Brennan Dickenson 62’) < Poku (Although Senior this season is better than Senior of the past and Poku)
27..Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe (Liam Mandeville 65’) < Nouble (best attacking player in the squad)
19..Mikael Mandron < Norris (Norris struggling for goals at the moment, but I believe he can turn it around and I have more confidence in him than Mandron in front of goal).

6….Frankie Kent = Robinson (can't compare as different positions. Have we missed Franky at the back or grateful for Robinson's goals and link up play? At this stage of the seaon - probably would have Robinson!


Let me know your thoughts. Can we finally get promoted?!?!


Very interesting way of analysis gh.

Like Durham I too feel promotion is a possibility. [I wish it was 12 games unbeaten btw, unfortunately although we went to Forest Green we only played football in the last 15 minutes and lost that one - despite having what I thought was an ok goal disallowed.]

What you may detect from my i-follow experiences of every game is that as MFB will say 'we have no plan B'. We have in truth, a novice management who have disappointed me by how slowly they have learned. Last season we were unquestionably good enough for promotion - management caution and inability was a key failure factor.
I see us frequently [v FGR, v Port Vale, v Walsall...] taking the pitch appearing ill-prepared for what the opposition are going to do. Given that we only play one way this is baffling. In my day there were scouts who would have a good idea of what we could expect. Clearly, there are still scouts because most teams seem to know how to soak up our play and to counter it. Having said that, some of the things you highlight may be helping McG this season.

Senior - who is over rated, needs to practice his first touch and learn about awareness of team mates - wasn't missed on Saturday. Last season we had either Mandron or Norris. One was lg 1 standard and is now playing there, one is lg 2 standard. But now that we have Robinson - who is lg 1 level - the management have options and that's why Norris doesn't always play. Equally, the arrival of Poku from nowhere puts pressure on Norris and even Robinson, another bonus for McG. And then there is Wiredu who is another lg 1 level player. When McG rightly introduced the 3 new ones at Nailsworth we looked a lot better. In a way the potential for improvement which has resulted in the good run we are on, has almost come about by accident and has given McG options he was reticent to take last year [eg sending Junior to Ireland instead of playing him, not using Gondoh & Mandron together which was an interesting potential, etc]. Now McG's teams are less easy to predict than they were. Even Frank - who is a consistently good lg 2 level player - cannot bank on his place.

The new options being deployed - well done to the management for so-doing - are raising the possibility which Durham is so confident about. This has resulted in us not losing the last 2 games, despite falling behind.

Durham is right, KVY is class and we certainly miss him, as we do Kent but other things have helped the current situation. I don't actually believe the squad is better, but it is more effective and varied. We now have a goalkeeper worthy of the name and one or two players [Comley for example] have improved. Clampin, altho' out of his depth at FGR, has proved himself, as would Chilvers. Poku is a real bonus.

If players like Stevenson and Gambin find their feet then my confidence level may meet Durham's, but in short, we are playing pretty well, Eastman is a solid team man who helps everyone in the side and the return of Pell would be useful too. Lapslie may slide onto the bench with Senior but both offer something from there anyway.

So, have we improved you ask? Not necessarily, but we are different and the options make things feel more optimistic. A very good experienced manager could probably do quite a lot with what we have!

Up the upwardly up U's
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Matches of Yesteryear - Crewe v U's 17/2/18 on 19:39 - Oct 8 with 83 viewsdurham_exile

Matches of Yesteryear - Crewe v U's 17/2/18 on 13:17 - Oct 8 by Pinault_Noir

Very interesting way of analysis gh.

Like Durham I too feel promotion is a possibility. [I wish it was 12 games unbeaten btw, unfortunately although we went to Forest Green we only played football in the last 15 minutes and lost that one - despite having what I thought was an ok goal disallowed.]

What you may detect from my i-follow experiences of every game is that as MFB will say 'we have no plan B'. We have in truth, a novice management who have disappointed me by how slowly they have learned. Last season we were unquestionably good enough for promotion - management caution and inability was a key failure factor.
I see us frequently [v FGR, v Port Vale, v Walsall...] taking the pitch appearing ill-prepared for what the opposition are going to do. Given that we only play one way this is baffling. In my day there were scouts who would have a good idea of what we could expect. Clearly, there are still scouts because most teams seem to know how to soak up our play and to counter it. Having said that, some of the things you highlight may be helping McG this season.

Senior - who is over rated, needs to practice his first touch and learn about awareness of team mates - wasn't missed on Saturday. Last season we had either Mandron or Norris. One was lg 1 standard and is now playing there, one is lg 2 standard. But now that we have Robinson - who is lg 1 level - the management have options and that's why Norris doesn't always play. Equally, the arrival of Poku from nowhere puts pressure on Norris and even Robinson, another bonus for McG. And then there is Wiredu who is another lg 1 level player. When McG rightly introduced the 3 new ones at Nailsworth we looked a lot better. In a way the potential for improvement which has resulted in the good run we are on, has almost come about by accident and has given McG options he was reticent to take last year [eg sending Junior to Ireland instead of playing him, not using Gondoh & Mandron together which was an interesting potential, etc]. Now McG's teams are less easy to predict than they were. Even Frank - who is a consistently good lg 2 level player - cannot bank on his place.

The new options being deployed - well done to the management for so-doing - are raising the possibility which Durham is so confident about. This has resulted in us not losing the last 2 games, despite falling behind.

Durham is right, KVY is class and we certainly miss him, as we do Kent but other things have helped the current situation. I don't actually believe the squad is better, but it is more effective and varied. We now have a goalkeeper worthy of the name and one or two players [Comley for example] have improved. Clampin, altho' out of his depth at FGR, has proved himself, as would Chilvers. Poku is a real bonus.

If players like Stevenson and Gambin find their feet then my confidence level may meet Durham's, but in short, we are playing pretty well, Eastman is a solid team man who helps everyone in the side and the return of Pell would be useful too. Lapslie may slide onto the bench with Senior but both offer something from there anyway.

So, have we improved you ask? Not necessarily, but we are different and the options make things feel more optimistic. A very good experienced manager could probably do quite a lot with what we have!

Up the upwardly up U's


Pinault I know that one of my many weaknesses is a case of over optimism but like you and many more on the board we have experienced so many false dawns.

This could be our best season since Parky took us to the promised land.

A real opportunity for automatic promotion, the possibility to reach the Quarter finals of the League Cup for the first time in almost 45 years.

Such seasons do not come along very often. We all know that. There are some exciting and talented players at the club.

There is no reason why we can't go up and also make some serious coin from the cup(s).

Possibly £1m if all goes well. The club already has a healthy transfer surplus after summer transactions so this will add to the opportunity to leave us well and truly in the black.

Plus the opportunity for some business in January - Theo Robinson has to be on the shopping list.

Plus Junior comes back in November so the club have a decision to make asto what happens to him. Hopefully he has progressed in Ireland and will be ready to strengthen the attacking options.

It is a long season we could play 60 games and new blood in January will be essential to maintain the promotion push.

Yes a successful season beckons, promotion and a cup run possibly two for a league two team it doesn't get much better than that.

What of course I want to see is Colchester able to hold their own in league one next season. That would be real progress and achievement.

Exciting times.

UTU's

Durham_exile

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Matches of Yesteryear - Crewe v U's 17/2/18 on 19:48 - Oct 9 with 53 viewsghughes11

Thanks for your replys.

Going to be another "interesting" season again watching the U's!

A squad on paper that has the potential. Although most of us said that last season, and the season before that and probably the one before that!

McGreal got lucky or was a tactical genius, a couple of seasons ago with the change at Cheltenham, going 3 at the back and our fortunes changed for the better.

Has he now fluked or learned over time to change up the players/formation? Or has injuries/international call ups, just forced this on him?

Up to 8th and 1 point out of the playoffs. 4 off a top 3. And if some our to be believed, not even playing our best football or even our best XI.

Next 4 games will be a good marker. 2 teams below us in the table (Crawley and Morcambe). Followed by 2 teams currently above us (Crew and Newport).

I am, as always, cautiously optimistic :-)

C'mon Col U
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Matches of Yesteryear - Crewe v U's 17/2/18 on 23:06 - Oct 9 with 41 viewsdurham_exile

Matches of Yesteryear - Crewe v U's 17/2/18 on 19:48 - Oct 9 by ghughes11

Thanks for your replys.

Going to be another "interesting" season again watching the U's!

A squad on paper that has the potential. Although most of us said that last season, and the season before that and probably the one before that!

McGreal got lucky or was a tactical genius, a couple of seasons ago with the change at Cheltenham, going 3 at the back and our fortunes changed for the better.

Has he now fluked or learned over time to change up the players/formation? Or has injuries/international call ups, just forced this on him?

Up to 8th and 1 point out of the playoffs. 4 off a top 3. And if some our to be believed, not even playing our best football or even our best XI.

Next 4 games will be a good marker. 2 teams below us in the table (Crawley and Morcambe). Followed by 2 teams currently above us (Crew and Newport).

I am, as always, cautiously optimistic :-)

C'mon Col U


Where Colchester are different to the previous three seasons, where we have flattered to deceive, is in making some key playing staff changes at important times.

Notably the arrival in the first team of Kwame Poku (who is going to be outstanding), the signing on loan of Brendan Wiredu and the inspirational signing of Theo Robinson.

Plus Dean Gerken has rolled back the years, Ryan Jackson is simply outstanding, Tom Eastman is playing superbly, Ben Stevenson is back to his best, Jevani Brown will come good, Frank Nouble is inspired and Luke Norris is back to his pre Oldham Athletic days of last season (he was unplayable in that game). Most improved player Brandon Comley.

Plus we are waiting for Harry Pell to revitalise the midfield and Callum Harriott to weigh in with some sparkling wing play.

The cup run(s) have rekindled the flames of desire and promotion credentials and we are beginning to look like a team that will achieve greatness this season.

JM's only problem is how to assemble the best playing XI once Pell and Harriott are fit.

Suggest:

Gerken

Jackson Eastman Prosser Bramall

Comley Pell Stevenson

Nouble Robinson Harriott

Subs:

Ross Clampin Sowunmi Lapslie Poku Norris Brown

JM's problem will be keeping players enthused but it is a squad and so expect some changes to be rung at times.

Senior Lapslie Poku Brown Norris Cowan-Hall should all get playing time and starts.

Exciting times.

UTU's

Durham_exile

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