No self-belief and no cup run for U's

COLCHESTER United's habit of flopping against League Two opposition struck again as the U's tumbled out of the FA Cup without a whimper on Saturday.U's boss Geraint Williams is still waiting to celebrate his first Cup success as a manager, and this latest reverse was the most disappointing of the recent four cup defeats.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United's habit of flopping against League Two opposition struck again as the U's tumbled out of the FA Cup without a whimper on Saturday.

U's boss Geraint Williams is still waiting to celebrate his first Cup success as a manager, and this latest reverse was the most disappointing of the recent four cup defeats.

United lost 2-1 at Barnet at the same stage of the FA Cup a year ago, as well as bowing out of the Carling Cup to League Two clubs MK Dons and Shrewsbury over the last two seasons.


You may also want to watch:


But Saturday's third round defeat was suffered on home turf, and was no more than they deserved - Peterborough were the better team from the first whistle to the last.

The U's were unrecognisable from the side that chalked up such a heart-warming 2-1 victory at Championship promotion hopefuls Charlton on New Year's Day.

Most Read

On that occasion, they took the initiative early on and built-up a two-goal lead. Committed in the tackle and strong in defence, the U's were good value for their surprise win in south London.

But there was to be no repeat performance against Posh. The attacking thrust and the defensive resilience was gone as, it seemed, was the self-belief.

Aaron Mclean headed the visitors into an early lead, and although the U's were level at the break through a controversial Teddy Sheringham penalty, their joy was short-lived.

George Boyd and Charlie Lee both netted in the second-half, without reply, to condemn the U's to a confidence-draining defeat.

It was a disappointing way for Cup football at Layer Road to end - a new era dawns at the Community Stadium next season.

The U's simply could not get going. The over-worked Dean Gerken had already prevented Mclean from tucking home a header, following Jeff Hughes' free-kick, before the same combination struck from the ensuing corner.

Despite being one of the smallest players on the park, livewire Mclean nipped in to head home Hughes' fourth minute corner.

It was his 20th goal of the season, a marvellous haul for the 24-year-old former Grays striker who once had a trial at Colchester.

Too often, the U's were second to the ball. In fact, they were lucky not to fall further behind in the 34th minute when the elusive Mclean met Chris Whelpdale's cross with a cracking header that beat Gerken but thudded back off the far post.

It was against the run of play when the Championships hosts equalised. Kevin Lisbie was adjudged to have been shoved in the back by Whelpdale, following a delicate cross by Johnnie Jackson.

It looked a harsh decision, but Sheringham wasn't complaining as he calmly lifted the penalty into the top corner of the net. It was his fourth goal of the season.

Surely the U's would now start playing? So fortunate to be level at half-time, they had a chance to build again.

Alas, they were punished for slack defending again, just 26 seconds into the second-half, after which the writing was in the wall.

Lee rivalled team-mate Mclean for the man-of-the-match award, and it was the former Tottenham trainee who delivered the telling cross for Boyd to sweep Peterborough into a 2-1 lead.

United had just one opportunity to fashion another equaliser. Not surprisingly, it was from a Mark Yeates free-kick. Mark Tyler was unable to cling onto Yeates' curling 20-yarder, and it needed a smart clearance from Hughes to prevent Sheringham from burying the rebound.

Posh put the game beyond doubt in the 73rd minute. Again it came from a cross, this time a corner from Whelpdale which was headed firmly home by Lee from eight yards out.

The U's could have no complaints. They were second best in all departments, and it remains a worrying statistic they have won just two of their 14 home fixtures this season.

To avoid the drop into League One, where Peterborough might be playing next season, United must start winning at home.

They have no Cup distractions, and just 20 games to go, 10 of them at Layer Road.

You get the feeling that they will have to win at least half of these home games to stand a chance of beating the drop.

It's a tall order.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus