Colchester United comment: U's season at a crossroads after defeat at Crewe
PUBLISHED: 12:25 27 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:25 27 January 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Colchester United are facing a crossroads in their season, one way leading to mid-table obscurity and the other towards a push for the play-offs.
For the first time this season, the U’s have suffered back-to-back league defeats, which has seen them slide out of the top seven.
It is to their credit that they have not endured successive league losses until the end of January, with 30 fixtures now on the board, which is why they remain in the promotion picture.
But the recent defeats, 3-2 at home to Mansfield the previous weekend, and 2-1 at Crewe on Saturday, suggest that John McGreal’s men are in danger of letting all the good work of the first half of the season go to waste.
Looking at the slightly wider picture, the U’s are now on a poor run of just one victory in seven games, with just five points gained from a possible 21 – that is relegation form, not play-off form.
They have shown a fragility, certainly in their mental approach, that has attributed to them squandering leads, firstly a 2-0 half-time advantage over Mansfield, and most recently a 1-0 interval lead at Gresty Road.
Below-par second-half displays have effectively cost the U’s six points over the last two weekends, prompting manager John McGreal to criticise his side for “throwing away good points.”
Continuing on the glass-half-empty theme, the U’s might also struggle to keep hold of a couple of their key players during the last few days of the January transfer window. That window slams shut on Thursday evening.
Looking at the positives, the U’s are still only one point and one place off the top-seven, with 16 matches still to play, and their next three are all against teams from the lower half of the division – Northampton and Macclesfield away, and Cheltenham at home.
As such, then, the U’s season remains in the balance, though some might say it is already tottering on a knife-edge.
On Saturday, Sammie Szmodics broke the deadlock after just 11 minutes with his 10th goal of the season, firing home a right-footed shot into the bottom corner after a stray pass by Paul Green.
But Perry Ng swung over a cross for Kirk to nod home a 48th minute equaliser, before Green’s delivery was headed home at the far post by Nolan on 87 minutes.