Williams proud of his players

COLCHESTER United manager GERAINT WILLIAMS hailed his team's all-round performance to secure a deserved 2-2 draw at Bramall Lane.“This was a real team effort.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United manager GERAINT WILLIAMS hailed his team's all-round performance to secure a deserved 2-2 draw at Bramall Lane.

“This was a real team effort. Everyone almost gave blood for the team!” declared Williams.

“I don't want to just talk about individuals, because this was all about team spirit and our work ethos. We just hate losing. We accept defeat, but not easily. We hate it.

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“I thought history was going to repeat itself, when we went 2-1 down. It reminded me of the opening day of last season, when we cruelly lost 2-1 at Birmingham.

“But we deserved to get the equaliser. It was a great header from Clive Platt. He took the pace off the cross with his header, and it looped into the net. That's a dying art.

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“I thought we competed well in the first half. We were well organised with two banks of four, and we quietened down the home crowd. Things opened up in the second half, with the heat and the tired legs on the pitch, but we matched Sheffield United for skill.

“Mark Yeates is very positive when he's in the final third of the pitch. He's a handful for anyone, and he picked out Kevin McLeod for our first goal. That was a good spot.

“Teddy Sheringham did not want to come off. He had only played 20 minutes in pre-season, but he had been very positive in training. To be fair, I didn't think that he would last the 90 minutes in that heat, but he wanted to stay on. It's easy to play with class players, and that's what Teddy is!

“Everyone of those players on the pitch proved to me that they wanted to be at Colchester United. Everyone in the shirt was magnificent.

“It's a decent start but it's only one game in. I also had no attacking options on the bench, due to a couple of injuries (Kevin Lisbie and Jamie Guy). We're a bit light in that department, so I'm looking for a couple of additions to the squad, one a striker and one a defensive player.”

Late goal-hero CLIVE PLATT said: “We showed great character to come back twice. Karl Duguid's cross for my goal was perfect. I just got myself in a position to head the ball, and the cross was on my head. I just aimed for the corner of the net.”

Left-back GEORGE ELOKOBI enthused: “I loved playing at a great place like Sheffield United. That's the way I'm going to improve as a player, being up against wingers of the class of Keith Gillespie. I'm up for the challenge!”

BRYAN ROBSON, the new Blades boss, praised Colchester for their resilience. He said: “Full credit to Colchester. They kept going to make it difficult for us. Teddy (Sheringham) is a clever player and he still has great ability. I always feel that you'll get shock results in this early part of the season. Nobody will give you anything in this division.”

n SATURDAY'S 1-1 draw at Sheffield United was the first time that the U's had drawn on the opening day of the season for seven years, and only the second time in the last 18 years!

Steve Whitton's men shared a goal-less stalemate at Swindon on the opening day of the 2000-01 campaign. Before then, you had to go back to the start of the 1989-90 season for a 1-1 draw at Chesterfield, when Mark Radford was on target.

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