Colchester United review of the season

CONSOLIDATION is not the most inspiring of words, but it best describes Colchester United’s 2011-12 season.

And ‘consolidation’ is a far more welcome term than ‘relegation!’

This last season was no vintage one at the Weston Homes Community Stadium. The play-offs proved beyond John Ward’s men, and there was precious little excitement on the cup front.

A 10th spot finish repeated the outcome of the previous season, and there were early exits from the FA Cup, Carling Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

But let’s not get too down.


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Three top 10 finishes on the bounce is no mean feat for a club regularly attracting one of the smallest average attendances in League One.

Clubs likes Chesterfield and Wycombe, promoted from League Two the previous season, failed in their bid to ‘consolidate’ themselves in the higher division – both were relegated at the first time of asking.

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And the other two clubs that suffered relegation, Rochdale and Exeter City, had both finished above the U’s in 2010-11.

So although not jam-packed with thrills and spills, U’s supporters can have few complaints with the most recent season.

United are still punching above their weight, and they are trying to invest in youth, to guarantee their long-term future.

The emergence of Tom Eastman, in central defence, and the blossoming talent of Anthony Wordsworth, in central midfield, were highlights.

As were the away wins at Preston and Charlton, and the big home successes over the likes of Notts County, Bury, Preston and Tranmere.

Of course there were many lows, not least the heavy home defeats at the hands of ruthless MK Dons and Stevenage, and Huddersfield’s last gasp equaliser in mid-March, which effectively snuffed out any lingering hopes of gate-crashing the top six.

In many ways, it was a season of missed chances.

NUMBERS GAME – TOP 20

0: The number of games that Brian Wilson failed to start

1: The number of shots on target recorded by John-Joe O’Toole in the whole season

2: Points taken off Wycombe, Scunthorpe, Rochdale and Bournemouth

3: The league position the U’s were in following the opening day win at Preston

4: Fouls committed by Ashley Vincent

5: The times Ian Henderson hit the woodwork

6: The number of goals scored by Stevenage to inflict a record home league defeat on the Us, 6-1 on Boxing Day

7: Starts by Martin Rowland

8: Bookings picked up by Ian Henderson and Kem Izzet

10: Most number of cards, accrued by Magnus Okuonghae, nine yellow and one red

11: Games without a victory between March 6 and April 28

12: Steven Gillespie’s goal tally

13: Leading scorer Anthony Wordsworth’s goal tally for the season

14: Substitute appearances by Steven Gillespie in the league

15: Starts for Ben Coker in League One

16: Efforts on goal recorded by target man Kayode Odejayi in league games

17: The lowest league position of the season, after a 3-2 defeat at Huddersfield on August 20

18: Minutes, the timing of Byron Moore’s goal to put Crewe 1-0 up against the U’s in the FA Cup. But the U’s replied with four second half goals to win 4-1

19: A squad number that was vacant in the U’s squad

20: Draws from 46 league games

OUTSIDE THE TOP 20

27: Players used during the season

52: U’s fans made the trip to Hartlepool for a 1-0 win before Christmas

53: Most shots on target, registered by Anthony Wordsworth

1,430: Lowest attendance for a U’s game, away at Wycombe in Carling Cup

1,550: Charlton away fans for their 2-0 win at the Community Stadium

2,543: Sheffield Wednesday away fans travelled to the U’s for the 1-1 draw

6,643: Biggest gate for a U’s home game, against Sheffield Wednesday

17,736: Biggest attendance for a U’s game, away at Sheffield Wednesday

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