Twelve months on and Colchester United are in the same position

Joe Dunne

Joe Dunne - Credit: Archant

Colchester United’s current position, in League One, bears an uncanny resemblance to that of 12 months ago.

The U’s are 16th in the table, after 19 games – exactly the same position as they were after 19 games last season, following a 3-1 home defeat to Coventry City on November 20, 2012.

The similarities do not end there. The U’s, after eight games under former boss John Ward, and 11 under new manager Joe Dunne, had scored 22 goals and conceded 26 from 19 fixtures.

Fast forward 12 months and the U’s have netted one less (21) and conceded the same number (26).

Last season, the U’s were five points clear of the relegation zone, and nine points adrift of the top six. It’s virtually the same this time around – Dunne’s men are currently four points ahead of the bottom four, and 10 adrift of the play-off zone.

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Even the U’s cup statistics are identical – three matches, and three defeats!

So is this a case of stagnation, with very little progress? Or are there positive signs for the U’s?

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I would suggest the latter.

The U’s home reverse to Coventry, just over 12 months ago, was actually the first game in a disastrous run of nine straight defeats, which almost led to Dunne quitting his job.

By the end of the ninth defeat, at fellow strugglers Scunthorpe, the U’s had slithered into the bottom four and were destined for a relegation battle that lasted into the final day.

The present day U’s are a stronger outfit, altogether.

They are more difficult to beat – six defeats from 19 as opposed to eight last year – and so therefore seem far less likely to suffer a sudden, dramatic slump.

After a fortnight’s break from action, the U’s return with a home match against basement dwellers Notts County tomorrow, the first of three games against bottom four teams before the turn of the year.

Dunne’s squad looks stronger than it did last Christmas, despite a glut of injuries, which is why I think progress has been made over the last 12 months.

Hopefully, there will be no last day jitters next May.

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