Lofty At Yeovil
A TRIP to Yeovil where the weather mirrored the U's season.
Driving down in bright sunshine, but for large parts of the game Huish Park had a ceiling of grey cloud. Little moments of light and hope but for most of the time dull.
The last Colchester eleven to take the pitch this season lined up as follows - Gerken in goal, a back four of Maybury, Tierney, Baldwin and Heath. Hackney, Izzet, Hammond and Yeates across the middle with Vernon and Vincent up front. The bench consisted of Cousins, Jackson, Wordsworth, Platt and, appropriately, a non-playing Chris Coyne, watching possibly his last Colchester game as a member of the squad. The chances are he will not be the only member of todays 16 not gracing the Weston Homes Community Stadium next season.
With both teams having nothing of note to play for the game started quite brightly, the sides exchanging attacks without unduly troubling the goalkeepers.
This changed fourteen minutes in and the match was effectively settled in the next four minutes. First Vincent opened his U's account when he received the ball on the edge of the area and shot towards the centre of the Yeovil goal. It was a strike that goalscoring goalkeeper Weale should have coped with easily, but he went down slower than arthritic tortoise and the ball found its way under his body and across the line.
Next a Colchester break ended with the ball at the feet of Yeates on the edge of the area. His sharp turn and shot beat Weale at his post cementing his place at the top of the goalscoring chart. He may be infuriating and inspirational in equal measure but he is surely a player the U's need to keep hold of for next season.
The rest of the half passed without any real incident apart from another Colchester break which led to Weale tearing out of his box to challenge Vernon. The keeper failed to come anywhere near the ball but Colchester couldn't take advantage of his unguarded net.
Yeovil started the second half brightly, presumably having received a dressing down at half-time. Murtagh rattled the post with a good effort and Gerkin pulled off a smart save from Allcock, who had found himself unmarked in the box.
Colchester put together some smart moves involving Yeates, Hackney and Vincent but Weale was never tested. Jackson came on for Vincent, put a free-kick over the bar and got himself booked. Platt and Wordsworth replaced Vernon and Izzet but neither made a meaningful contribution.
The game petered out leaving the only meaningful statistic that of Colchester recording their record 11th away league win of the season and adding to their record away league points haul.
The U's players acknowledged the support of their 150-200 traveling fans, some fortunates going home with a shirt or some boots. The U's fans had been fairly muted for the 90 minutes - marking the end of a season that had opened with so much expectation, however realistic or unrealistic that was.
What Lambert now does between now and the start of the next campaign will be interesting to see. Some of todays squad will probably not be seen in a U's shirt again. Once he has built his own squad, team and system of play Lambert's potential as a promotion winning manager will be fully tested.
He did well to revive a demoralised and relegation battling squad when he arrived but has so far failed to tackle the hoodoo of the team's home form - if he can do that and maintain a large proportion of this season's away successes it will be an exciting time.
Thanks to Lofty for this article.
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