Late goals killing Colchester
CONCEDING late goals is killing Colchester United this season, and it's a habit that they will want to kick quickly.The U's used to be renowned for scoring late winners, especially at home during their triumphant promotion season of 2005-06, but the boot has been on the other foot this term.
By Carl Marston
CONCEDING late goals is killing Colchester United this season, and it's a habit that they will want to kick quickly.
The U's used to be renowned for scoring late winners, especially at home during their triumphant promotion season of 2005-06, but the boot has been on the other foot this term.
Geraint Williams' men looked on course for a scrappy 1-0 win over visiting Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday night, only for midfielder David Norris to poach a deserved 87th-minute equaliser.
It was the fourth goal that the U's had conceded, in the last 10 minutes of a match in their last four games, and the seventh such late goal in a so far frustrating campaign.
All these late, late shows, equates to the U's dropping six points - that would have put them in the top 10 on 22 points, rather than in the bottom eight on 16.
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By contrast, United have only scored three goals themselves in the last 10 minutes, and although two of these were late equalisers at Sheffield United and Blackpool, they merely cancelled out goals bagged by the opposition just minutes before. The third was just a consolation in the 3-2 defeat by Burnley, so the net result is zero.
The Essex club have only won three of their 16 league and cup games this term, but that figure could have been five if they had clung on to leads at home to Barnsley and Plymouth. Furthermore, they let further points slip at Ipswich and Coventry in their last two away fixtures.
Midfielder Kevin Watson, in addition to slamming a minority of home fans who booed the players at half-time and again at the end of Tuesday's match, admitted that the U's desperately needed to cling onto leads to preserve their Championship status.
“We need to grind out three points. We need to get a scrappy win,” insisted Watson.
“That could have come against Plymouth. We were 1-0 up despite not playing well. That could have been our scrappy win to set us up for the season.
“We were fortunate to be 1-0 up. As the home side, we should not have been holding on for the last 10 minutes.
“Last season, we were pushing on for late goals, especially at home, and the defence didn't look like conceding goals. But that hasn't been the case this season.
“It's disappointing and it's deflating. You can't fault the players for their effort, but we are conceding too many goals at the moment,” added Watson.
The U's face a daunting trip to league leaders Watford on Saturday. The in-form Hornets are eight points clear at the top of the Championship, and have scored 27 goals in 15 games.
It will be another tough test for a Colchester defence who have kept just one clean-sheet all season.