Colchester United’s season set to go down to the wire – again!
- Credit: Su Anderson
It was a brave decision, to change manager after just five games, less than a month into the new season.
And of course there is no way of knowing how Colchester United would be faring at this moment in time, if former boss Joe Dunne was still in charge.
But Tony Humes has every chance of emulating the achievements of his predecessor, by guiding the U’s away from the relegation battle.
Ex-Academy manager, Humes, had no first team managerial experience at all before he was appointed the new U’s manager, on September 1.
The U’s were lying second-from bottom, with just one point accrued from their first five games of the season, and had lost their last four fixtures on the spin.
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It has certainly not been all plain sailing, for Humes and his assistant Richard Hall, but the signs are that this management team are blossoming, and that their young squad are acquiring the self-belief necessary to stay in League One.
Saturday’s superb 3-2 home win, over league leaders Bristol City, was a victory for manager Humes’ tactics – choosing to change formation from the customary 4-2-3-1 to 4-4-2 – and a triumph for the players’ resilience, especially during a difficult second-half when the Robins were threatening to wipe out the U’s lead.
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“We have been in charge for a very short space of time, but we have been learning all the time,” explained Humes.
“We are starting to learn different tactics, and starting to learn who to put in at the right time, to get the right results. That worked against Bristol City.
“Beating the best team in the division will give us confidence and belief. Against three of the top six clubs (Oldham, MK Dons and Bristol City), we haven’t looked like where we are in the league.
“We now have to just make sure that we don’t drop back in (to the relegation zone), although it’s still very tight. Other teams have also won (last weekend), but we want to climb the table as quickly as we can.”
The U’s are currently one point and one place above the drop zone, going into this Saturday’s tough test at play-off chasing Doncaster – that’s obviously a far better position than at the end of August, when the U’s were sitting on just one point.
To date, manager Humes has presided over 27 league games, with nine wins, six draws and 12 defeats, with 33 points accumulated. That equates to an average of 1.222 points per game.
Taken over a whole season (46 x 1.222), that would leave the U’s on a points haul of 56.
Unfortunately, though, just one point was gained from those five games, pre-Humes. With that in mind, Humes’ current average would leave the U’s on 1 + (41 x 1.222), which equals 51.1 points.
That should be just enough to stay up, although Torquay did go down with 51 points in 2004-05.
So, in all probability, it’s going down to the wire! This would mean another heart-stopping final day, a repeat of two seasons ago when the U’s stayed up via a win at Carlisle.
n Colchester United Under-21s hammered league leaders Swansea City 5-2 on Monday night, to end the Welsh club’s 13-game unbeaten run.
Teenage winger Dion Sembie-Ferris broke the deadlock after just two minutes. The Swans equalised soon afterwards, only for Tottenham loanee Kenny McEvoy to restore the U’s lead on 33 minutes.
It was 2-2 at half-time, before the U’s plundered three goals in the second-half. Cardiff City loanee Rhys Healey netted the third from close-range on 54 minutes, and then added his second and the U’s fourth, before Ipswich Town loanee Jack Marriott netted to complete the scoring.