Writer: Colchester Dan
Date:Wednesday March 6 2013
The return of Tom Eastman to the U's side has seen Joe Dunne's men record three consecutive clean sheets, enjoying 2-0 victories against Yeovil and Stevenage before last night's heroic 0-0 battle at Hartlepool.
The twenty-one year old from Clacton appears to have been a key part of the new-found solidity at the back and told BBC Essex last night that keeping clean sheets is the perfect platform for the side to push away from danger.
Frailties at the back appeared to be in abundance for the U's just under two weeks ago as they crashed to a 5-1 defeat at home to Tranmere - the signs were ominous as miscommunications and calamities looked set to consign Dunne's side to League Two.
However, the turnaround since then has been remarkable and none more so than holding out with ten-men for such a prolonged spell of the game last night. It isn't something the U's of old would have achieved, you'd imagine, and Eastman knows the team are scrapping.
'The second half was just them attacking us,' he said after the game. 'Clinton Morrison and Freddie Ladapo worked hard and ran their hearts out despite having little chance, but that helps all of us who are also scrapping away.
'Sam Walker is a great shot-stopper and that's three clean sheets in a row now. He's a good keeper and sometimes you're almost expecting him to save them!
'The worst we can do with a clean sheet is take a point, so we have to be happy with our performance today. With Jabo Ibehre, Clinton, Freddie Sears and Gavin Massey in the side we know we have goals, so if we can keep clean sheets we should get results.'
It was real backs-to-the-wall stuff from the U's following the dismissal of Jabo Ibehre late in the first half, and Eastman admits that the U's knew they would have a long way to go before they could take anything from the game.
Wave after wave of home pressure continued to be applied to the U's box, but the side stood firm and managed to resist the pressure admirably.
Looking back on the red card and Eastman admits that he didn't see too much of it, but that the rest of the squad remain hopefully it could be overturned.
He said: 'I wasn't too close to it but all of the lads are saying it wasn't a sending off so, hopefully, we can get some good luck on that one as he's a key player for us.
'As soon as he did the tackle the referee reached for his pocket and you're thinking, 'he could go here'. But we got to half-time at 0-0 and we knew that we had to dig in as there was a long way to go in the game.
'It was a really tough game but I think we deserved a point for digging in how we did; they've played for a while with the extra man, but we put two banks of four behind the ball and dealt with it well.'
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Date:Wednesday March 6 2013
Watt Was That, Kinsella? (Friday May 24 2013)
Ibehre Thanks U's Support (Friday May 24 2013)
Dunne Ready For 'Strongest' League One (Wednesday May 22 2013)
Dunne Snaps Up Eastmond (Tuesday May 21 2013)
Less Travelling For The U's (Monday May 20 2013)
Eastman Reflects On Carlisle (Tuesday May 14 2013)
Ibehre Set To Stay With U's? (Monday May 13 2013)
Play-Off Joy For Former U's (Monday May 6 2013)
Massey Happy With The U's (Sunday May 5 2013)
Gilbey Goes To Wembley (Sunday May 5 2013)
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