U's sorry season gets even worse

AS capitulations go, unfortunately for Colchester United fans, this was right up there among the very best.Somehow the U's managed to turn a 1-0 half-time lead into a 1-5 full-time defeat.

Mike Bacon

AS capitulations go, unfortunately for Colchester United fans, this was right up there among the very best.

Somehow the U's managed to turn a 1-0 half-time lead into a 1-5 full-time defeat. And many who were there are still scratching their heads as to how.

Already relegated maybe, but the U's went into this game with not an ounce of the pressure that was heaped upon Chris Coleman and his Coventry City side.

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They were, and still are, fighting for their Championship lives. But the U's let them off the hook big time on Saturday.

U's boss Geraint Williams had told his players to play for pride and new contracts from now until the rest of the season. But on this performance it looks like the only item Williams will be looking for in the summer is a new broom.

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Colchester really aren't this bad, but this was not clever and explains much of their season.

When Scott Vernon gave them the lead after 17 minutes after Kevin Lisbie had beaten the offside trap, it looked for all the world it could well be Colchester's day.

City were nervous, and after an opening 10 minute salvo, were devoid of ideas for the rest of the half.

Indeed the break couldn't come quick enough for Coleman's men, but whatever he said in the dressing room at half-time, the former Fulham boss could never have dreamed the U's would be so accommodating in the second period.

Dean Gerken began things rolling for the visitors after 48 minutes.

So usually reliable, so usually on top form, Gerken made the type of error you could have seen on any park pitch on a Sunday morning, letting Leon Best's toe-poke through his hands and legs.

Best and Coventry couldn't believe their luck.

Two minutes later Daniel Fox curled a beauty into the top corner and suddenly the game had swung the visitors way.

But such was their nervousness even the large contingent of Sky Blues fans couldn't bring themselves to sing much, the tension was too great.

However they needn't have worried, the U's generosity hadn't finished. In fact it was only just starting.

Michael Misfud, who had been relatively quiet, kept under wraps by John White, suddenly made the most of White's substitution and attacked new left-back Karl Duguid with relish.

It was the U's skipper who caught the Maltese-born striker in the 77th minute as he skipped round him in the box. Elliott Ward thumped home the penalty.

Game over, but game not over, as far as Coleman's men were concerned.

Four minutes later Mifsud again skipped down the right past Duguid and pulled the ball back for Jay Tabb to shoot. His shot was blocked and Michael Doyle gleefully knocked home.

There was still time for a fifth and another Ward penalty, this time after substitute Zavon Hines was brought crashing to the ground by Chris Coyne.

Ward made it a nap hand for City, but even then the ground still refused to open up and swallow the U's players, as many of them must have been wishing it would.

Stoke at home next weekend is the final ever Colchester United game at Layer Road.

Thank goodness it wasn't this one.

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