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Rashford torments Super U's at OT in Cup Quarter Final 00:49 - Dec 20 with 334 viewsdurham_exile

The morning after the night before and perhaps I’m simply feeling tired today, but I am neither ecstatic nor feeling a buzz following the game last night.

Now don’t get me wrong I was so looking forward to the match following the Quarters Finals draw but somehow, I failed to enjoy the encounter. Was it because we were outplayed? Or because we failed to register a goal for the faithful to cheer or was it because for the first 51 minutes, we sat deep with 11 players behind the ball which frankly annoyed me.

Having conceded to United’s best player we then quickly conceded two more and the contest was over. More of this later.

The journey down from Durham was interesting. We left minus temperatures and fog and then travelling down the M6 and M61 the weather started to change. First showers then dry spells and much warmer conditions. By the time we reached the Lowery Centre it was just over two hours to kick off and a balmy 8 degrees Celsius.

Colchester supporters were arriving, and many had parked in the Lowery. The food court has a Harry Ramsdens and we enjoyed some excellent fish n chips before walking the fifteen minutes to the ground.

The area has been subject to Urban regeneration over the past few years with Media City, several hotels and high-rise expensive apartments overlooking the Manchester skyline.

It was slightly showery at this point but milder. My sons (one Manchester United the other Liverpool) opined possible scorelines. David suggested 5-0 United, I stuck with 3-2 to Colchester. The rain had put a dampener on souvenir sellers who gathered under umbrellas and near small outbuildings.

The crowd on both sides were very good natured. We still had plenty of time for photographs and a trip to the Megastore where I purchased some items for my son and his daughter. The programme was only £3.50 and offered good value for money.

We watched some Colchester supporters entering the ground and then walked to our entrance W11 Block 204 Tier 1 Upper at the Stretford End. It was strange, no bizarre to find myself at the opposite end of the stadium from the faithful. It has only happened once before, at the Old Den when we were playing Millwall in 1979 and I watched amidst some of the infamous F troop (wearing surgical masks) who were incensed when one of my favourite Colchester footballers Trevor Lee fired us into the lead and we went on to win 2-1. But back to Old Trafford.

The rain had virtually gone by kick off thank goodness. The pitch was immaculate, no signs of the mice that sometimes enter the field of play because off the wet conditions. Estimates of the crowd prior to kick off were about 60,000 and the actual attendance was 57,559 with about 5,500 Colchester faithful.

To the right and slightly lower than the Colchester supporters were the singing section of the Red Devils who were noisy throughout, as if in competition.

Now Old Trafford holds 75,000 but UEFA restrictions have limited attendances to 73,000 this season as a result of disabled supporters who rightly have dedicated areas. The stadium is looking old in parts. I remember when the corners were increased in capacity to take the attendance to 75,000 and there is talk of increasing this further to 90,000.

OGS had played a clever game with his team selection he fielded a stronger line up that anyone was predicting. Me included.

United lined up 4,2,3,1

Romero

Young Tuanzebe Maguire Shaw

Pereira Matic

Greenwood Mata Rashford

Martial

Subs:

Williams Lingard Garner Jones Grant GK McTominay Chong

JM had named an almost unchanged team with youngster Poku giving way for Tom Lapslie

4,5,1

Gerken

Jackson Eastman Prosser Bramall

Nouble Pell Comley Lapslie Harriott

Norris

Subs:

Sowunmi Brown Clampin Ross Stevenson Poku Gambin

I don’t think that the occasion got to the players insofar as they started to play football but quickly got bodies behind the ball and Norris and Nouble became isolated. In fact, Harry Pell was too fired up and committed three quick fouls which resulted in a booking and he became a spent force after that. I have been disappointed with him since his return from injury.

By contrast Callum Harriott was lively and looked to get forward . Tom Lapslie was simply outstanding, he was tigerish and ran himself into the ground for 90 minutes. Without doubt our Man of the Match.

United did what teams have not done so far against us in the Cup. They attacked from the outset. Marcus Rashford had a Jekyll and Hyde game. First half he peppered the goal on at least four occasions including one that went out for a throw in. His trade mark freekick was fumbled by Gerken on a greasy surface in front of the East Stand where the faithful were gathered. His profligacy in front of goal was cheered wildly by the Faithful.

The Stretford End was quiet. Incidentally the Faithful were housed in the top two tiers of the East Stand very much in the Gods. We were by contrast close to the playing surface and had a tremendous view of the action.

Colchester mustered one shot in the first half from the industrious Harriott which went narrowly wide of the post following a corner.

We were defending like dervishes with Prosser and Eastman commanding the back and Jackson and Bramall defending deep. Pell was ineffectual and Harriott was like a coiled spring looking to get going but limited when he did move forward. Lapslie was brilliant winning challenges forcing errors and causing a degree of consternation. But we were content to sit deep and encourage United on.

Maguire would pick the ball up and no one would challenge him until; he was close to the half way line. Ashley Young found lots of possession wide on the right wing whilst Matic and Mata found Greenwood, Rashford and Martial with ease.

The Faithful were noisy and cheering every touch from our players especially when we ventured forward.

After about 20 minutes the lady in front of me turned around and asked if I was a Colchester supporter. She too supported the U’s but her husband who sat immobile was a Red. Our support was not just in the East Stand.

Half time was reached, and parity remained. The OT faithful were quiet but not too restless. I listened but there were no boos at HT. Our faithful wee delighted to have kept the scoreline blank.

I only needed a drink at HT and opted for a Hot Chocolate which was insipid. David had a pizza wrap which he reckoned was ok. I learned later that thy also had Cottage pies on sale.

OGS was frustrated and gave his team the hairdryer treatment at HT. His team talk was clearly effective. We lost our discipline on 51 minutes mainly because Ryan Jackson had ventured forward and shot straight at Romero. The keeper rolled the ball out quickly to Matic who spotted the gap vacated by Jackson and fired a long pass towards Rashford.

He quickly cut into the area and past the outstretched legs of Eastman and Prosser before steadying himself and firing past Gerken. There was palpable relief amongst the Mancunians and despair from some in the Stretford End and behind Romero’s goal.

Five minutes later and the game was up when Young passed to Greenwood and his cross was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Jackson who had Rashford breathing down his neck.

A further 5 minutes elapsed and Rashford crossed for Martial to slide the ball home from a few yards out. The game was up for the U’s and 3-0 did not flatter United at this stage.

Almost immediately OGS made two changes on 61 minutes with Williams on for Shaw and Lingard for Rashford. Our tormentor had gone and United perhaps relaxed a little.

Tuanzebe was replaced on 65 minutes by Garner as OGS sensed game over and job done.

The ineffectual Pell was replaced by Stevenson on 65 minutes.(who has been poorly served by JM recently). He must play in midfield he knows where the ball needs to be and is not afraid to pass and move. Suddenly we were seeing more of the ball in midfield and driving forward.

JM replaced Comley with Gambin on 72 minutes. There was a better balance to our play now and Harriott looked to advance at every opportunity. We needed pace though on both flanks and when Poku replaced Harriott on 77 minutes, I was pleased for the youngster. He should have started last night but this did not suit JM’s containing game.

Norris and Big Frank saw more of the ball and Stevenson was spraying passes about for fun. Of course, the game was up, but we did at least finish strongly. The game cried out for a Colchester consolation goal, but sadly it didn’t arrive.

Tom Lapslie and Callum Harriott were our best players. Harry Pell has got to sort himself out. I waited patiently for him to return from injury, but he is a pale imitation of his former self.

We must content ourselves with one more shot at Wembley this season. But I don’t want the play offs but automatic promotion.

The game will have taken a lot out of the players and we have a difficult game at home on Saturday to the Cumbrians. Colchester did not stay in a hotel but travelled up on the day. A long time in the coach for two long journeys with such an important game. I would d have thought RC could have stumped up the hotel accommodation for the players.

After all it has been a long time since our last Quarter final appearance against Villa in 1974.I suppose that is League Two versus Premier League!

Yes, I enjoyed the occasion and the support and the team, but I was left wondering. A fitter and brighter striker might have challenged Maguire and Tuanzebe more. Why is Junior not included in the squad.

The Semi Final draw was predictable City versus United and Villa versus Leicester.

Our Cup run is over, but it has been uplifting and eventful in equal measure.

We must return to the bread and butter of the league and look to secure three more points on Saturday.

I trust and hope that everyone got home safely. We were back by 1245am.

Up the U’s


Durham_exile

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Rashford torments Super U's at OT in Cup Quarter Final on 08:29 - Dec 20 with 311 viewsnoah4x4

Excellent summary Durham.

CUSA coaches arrived back after 04:00. Hope the team stayed overnight as I am still shattered this morning after four hours then seven hours subsequent sleep.

This was only my third visit to a truly big stadium (other than Wembley) and at Old Trafford, Chelsea and (old) Tottenham what struck me most was my distance from the pitch. It was like watching a silent video game.

My pal and I constantly argue over (say) whether a tackle was fair or not. We concurred at this distance we had no hope of judging anything. That is probably why VAR is frustrating as fans don't have a clue what infringement might be mooted.

Given uncomfortable cramped seats, everybody in S336 stood and I found it a less than satisfactory experience.
[Post edited 20 Dec 2019 8:32]
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Rashford torments Super U's at OT in Cup Quarter Final on 11:04 - Dec 20 with 291 viewsGOSBTS

Wonderful summary Durham and particularly helpful for me as I wasn't there on Wednesday night.

Now is the real deal for the U's. Cup excitement has embroidered our season since the Palace win at the end of August. It's been a distraction from the league when results haven't gone our way and has been used to help keep the players hungry and as a chance to pick up performances. Now we're out of all three competitions, our eyes must be on the prize of at least the playoffs. Most seasons a cup run would be enough for a lower league club. However, I feel like the excitement it's engendered around the club needs to be followed up by a shot at promotion.

4 months into the season, McGreal shouldn't need a cup to alleviate the selection headache. Suspensions and injuries will come, especially over the congested Christmas period, and all the players should be hungry to shine in a promotion run. He's almost got a best XI (oddly helped somewhat if Robinson goes back to Southend) and those on the fringes will have to chomp at the bit to get in. A poor result now will need to be followed up by a good result in the league, rather than relying on a cup performance.

I'm excited!

p.s. a note on being in the "gods" at OT. Shortly after the Amex was opened, I sat in the top tier of the West Stand for a cup game. Never again! It was vertigo inducing and I really didn't enjoy the angle of the pitch. Would rather have watched on the tele. I love being close to the action and halfway up the South Stand at the Community Stadium is as high up as I'll go. Wembley was the only stadium I put up with being so high up, but that was only because there were no tickets left in the bottom tier of remotely reasonable price!
[Post edited 20 Dec 2019 11:05]
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Rashford torments Super U's at OT in Cup Quarter Final on 07:18 - Dec 21 with 244 viewsghughes11

And now for my New Zealand TV perspective

I received a message from my Kiwi friend the night before, to say that the match is going to be shown live on Sky Sport over here at 9am. Prior scheduling said that they were going to show the re-run at 2pm. I was going to try and stream it live, knowing that I had Sky Sport for back up - however no need now, perfect!

Dropped the missus off at work for 7am, back home at 8am, logged onto the various Col U message boards and Facebook pages to try and soak up some of pre-match build up, as there was no pre-match build up on Sky Sport NZ.

WhatsApp photos appear from friends at the pub in Manchester. The jealousy starts to kick in!

5 minutes to 9am, and I pour myself a nice glass of stout (Cassels Brewing Milk Stout to be precise - which has just beaten Guinness in the world's best stout and porter, at the World Beer Awards) and take my seat on the sofa to watch the match.

A few surprises in the Man U team with Rashford starting. Matic and Mata very experienced in midfield and Yound, Maguire and Shaw in defence!!!

I didn't know what to expect. My heart was saying 0-0 and a win on Pens again, but my head was saying 5-0 Man U A few minutes in and a yellow card to Pell, I thought that my head had underestimated the Man U score. But no Prosser, Eastman and Lapslie had other ideas.

I wont go much more into the game, as I'm sure you have all seen it, listened to it or read all about it, however, I just wanted to add these couple of points:

1) Ex Kiwi work colleague of mine, messaged me halfway through the first half and said that Col U "should try playing in the other half sometime" I replied to remind him that the wage for one week, for a Man U player, is the cost of our entire team! He did have a point though, and that brings me on to thought number 2.

2) It was a shame to see the Col U nervous in possession, in the first half. A couple of simple passes went astray and the usually reliable Jackson, even had one go under his foot! It's not often that Col U are TV over here, so I was hoping that we would show a bit more on the counter attack or at least string a few nice passes together and not just hoof! Typical though, that their first goal came on the counter!

All in all though, we can't complain with a 3-0 defeat. The Man U team was a stronger one than they put out versus Rochdale.

As everybody else has mentioned, we need to invest the money wisely and go all out for promotion!

One game at a time and I think that if we beat Carlisle coming off the back of the Man U game - we would have put out a strong message to the rest of the contenders!

Also, a quick thanks to Wessex, for picking me up a programme. I look forward to reading it.

Poll: What was the main reason for the Col U win versus Carlisle?

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Rashford torments Super U's at OT in Cup Quarter Final on 12:58 - Dec 21 with 224 viewsbwildered

What really was required gh11 , bottle of Colchester Brazilian , special dark porter 6% .

Poll: Season 2019-20 prediction .

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Rashford torments Super U's at OT in Cup Quarter Final on 06:22 - Dec 25 with 167 viewsghughes11

Rashford torments Super U's at OT in Cup Quarter Final on 12:58 - Dec 21 by bwildered

What really was required gh11 , bottle of Colchester Brazilian , special dark porter 6% .


See if Wessex can send me some in the post with my programme

Poll: What was the main reason for the Col U win versus Carlisle?

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Rashford torments Super U's at OT in Cup Quarter Final on 09:12 - Dec 25 with 153 viewswessex_exile

Rashford torments Super U's at OT in Cup Quarter Final on 06:22 - Dec 25 by ghughes11

See if Wessex can send me some in the post with my programme


Lol, too late unfortunately, but was a good shout :-)

Up the U's
Poll: How will we do in 2016/17
Blog: Matches of Yesteryear - U's v Swans 3/4/01

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