Vernon - U's can rise to the occasion

COLCHESTER United marksman, Scott Vernon, believes that the U's can rise above the occasion to kick-off life at the new Weston Homes Community Stadium with a victory.

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United marksman, Scott Vernon, believes that the U's can rise above the occasion to kick-off life at the new Weston Homes Community Stadium with a victory.

A new era dawns for the U's this afternoon, as the Essex club host their first ever competitive game at their new ground, after spending the first 70 years of their existence at Layer Road.

Vernon had the distinction of scoring Colchester's first ever goal at the Community Stadium, when converting a penalty in the 2-1 defeat by Athletic Bilbao in a pre-season friendly.

You may also want to watch:

But it's down to serious business today. The U's lost their league opener 4-2 at Hartlepool last weekend, and so need to get off the mark against the stadium's first official visitors, Huddersfield Town.

“It's a big occasion for the fans, and the players as well, but as professionals we must rise above this,” explained Vernon last night.

Most Read

“Our minds will solely be on the game, and getting the three points. We were disappointed with ourselves at Hartlepool, especially the way we started the game.

“We know that we need to start games faster, and that's what we will be trying to do against Huddersfield. We want to make this stadium feel our home very quickly.

“We have trained on the pitch several times already, including on Thursday, and we are getting used to it,” added Vernon.

A woeful home record - the U's only won four of their 23 league games at Layer Road last season - cost them dear as they finished rock bottom of the Championship.

That needs to be addressed as the club prepares to mount a quickfire bid for promotion from League One.

“The home form hit us badly last season. If you're going to have a great season, then you need to be winning regularly at home. That has to be spot on,” continued Vernon.

“It was important to win at Gillingham on Tuesday night. I know it was only a cup game, but we needed that for our confidence. We want to get into the habit of winning games again.”

U's boss Geraint Williams has a number of tricky decisions to make this afternoon, in terms of selection. He made four changes to his side at Priestfield, following the defeat at Hartlepool, and all four recruits impressed in the 1-0 win.

Defender Matt Heath scored the winner, midfielder Kem Izzet was made the skipper, Clive Platt led the front-line impressively and Phil Ifil looked the part at left-back.

Club record signing Steve Gillespie, who bagged a brace at Victoria Park on his debut, did not feature at Gillingham due to tight calf muscles.

But Gillespie should return today, alongside either Vernon or Platt. The experienced trio of Chris Coyne, Matt Lockwood and Johnnie Jackson were all on the bench on Tuesday night, but all are pushing for a return.


COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken, White, Reid, Coyne, Ifil, Yeates, Izzet, Hammond, Jackson, Gillespie, Vernon, Platt, Heath, Lockwood, Wordsworth, Elito, Wasiu, Cousins.

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN: Glennon, Holdsworth, Butler, Lucketti, Unsworth, Collins, Goodwin, Flynn, Roberts, Booth, Cadamarteri, Smithies, Worthington, Parker, Beckett, Williams, Skarz, Kamara, Clarke.

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