Izzet: We threw away two points
COLCHESTER United's stand-in skipper Kem Izzet admitted that the U's “threw away” two points against visiting Hartlepool on Saturday.The U's faint play-off hopes now appear even more remote after their failure to hold on to a lead against mid-table opposition.
COLCHESTER United's stand-in skipper Kem Izzet admitted that the U's “threw away” two points against visiting Hartlepool on Saturday.
The U's faint play-off hopes now appear even more remote after their failure to hold on to a lead against mid-table opposition. They are still eight points adrift of the top six, but with only 13 fixtures remaining.
“We threw it away today,” rued Izzet, who was skipper for the day in the absence of the injured Dean Hammond.
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“It was said at half-time that we just needed to make sure that we defended corners and free-kicks, and then we would win the game. I think we are defending well as a team at the moment. We're getting the blocks in, but we are still conceding too many goals from set pieces.
“Everyone has their job to do, marking from set pieces, and the good thing is that the names are put on the board. I'm not going to name names, and it's tough to defend corners, but you have to win your own personal battles. We switched off and they got their equaliser. It's a pity because I didn't feel they would score. I felt so comfortable on the pitch at times.
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“We had a couple of late chances to kill the game off, especially when Gilly (substitute Steven Gillespie) went through, but the bottom line is that if we had kept a clean-sheet, then we would have won the game.
“That's the difference between the teams at the top and the rest. When Leicester City get 1-0 up, they rarely concede a goal. That's why they are top of the league.”
U's boss Paul Lambert made three changes to the side that had beaten Stockport 1-0 in midweek. Clive Platt and David Perkins, who were nursing slight niggles, were only introduced as late substitutes, while Hammond was sidelined with a sore hamstring.
Ironically, two of the replacements - Wordsworth and Vernon - combined to score the goal. Lambert also changed his system, with Mark Yeates playing just behind lone striker Vernon, flanked by two wingers. Izzet also played in a deeper position in central midfield.
“I was asked to play in a different role,” confirmed Izzet, who is the U's longest serving player. “I sat in and let the front four enjoy themselves. This worked well in the first half, and again for the first 10 minutes of the second half, but the game then started to get more stretched, which was really our downfall.
“It's always an honour to be named skipper. I enjoy it, and of course I was delighted when the gaffer asked me to wear the arm-band. But Deano (Dean Hammond) will be the skipper when he gets back.”
The U's have four tough away games in March, all at clubs above them in the table, starting at Huddersfield tomorrow. Izzet added: “We have a lot to improve on after our last away game (2-0 defeat at Walsall). We have to make sure that that doesn't happen again.
“The motivation is still there; it's constant. And we have vastly improved things from a few months ago. We are in people's faces and there are not so many grey areas anymore, especially just in front of the defence. We look stronger than we have been, but conceding goals from set pieces is something that we must nip in the bud.”