Writer: Colchester Dan
Date:Tuesday August 27 2013
After much pressing and probing the U's had to make do with just the one point in this weekend's League One encounter against struggling Carlisle.
The Cumbrians had conceded thirteen goals in their opening three league games and, despite the return of a number of their more influential players, the U's could have had a hatful as well on Friday night.
However, after going a goal down early on, it was always an uphill battle for Joe Dunne's men who faced a resilient Carlisle side with their backs to the wall as they desperately clung on to their first points of the season.
The U's went into the game with the opportunity to top the table at the close of play, and all of the talk was of avoiding complacency as high-margin victories were bandied around after the Cumbrians' start to the season.
But any opportunities for the U's to take it easy were quickly removed as MATTY ROBSON stole the ball from Craig Eastmond inside the opening five minutes, before driving into the U's half and firing a shot that squeezed into the near post to take a surprise lead.
It wasn't what the home crowd had been expecting, but it gave Carlisle the chance to settle themselves down and build confidence after a difficult start to the season that would have left them mentally fragile.
The confidence appeared to be flowing and, shortly afterwards, Lee Miller went close with a headed effort on his return to the side - arguably Carlisle's most influential player who had been suspended since his opening day sending off.
Throughout the first half the visiting side constantly looked dangerous on the break and, although the U's began to grow into the game, there was always a danger in their own half when the Cumbrians could push forward.
Sanchez Watt was proving to be a thorn to the Carlisle back line as he constantly twisted and turned with the ball at his feet, and his fine work created opportunities for both Jabo Ibehre and Gavin Massey.
Watt again was the architect as he cut inside and out before laying the ball off for Tosin Olufemi, with the U's youngster making his full debut having only appeared in a cameo role at Bury before.
As the ball rolled to Olufemi, the 19-year-old struck it first time and, bending all the time, it dipped over the top of Gillespie in the away goal before rebounding back off the crossbar.
Although it had been a solid away performance in the first half, the U's could sense they had grown back into the contest and, as the second half began, the one-way traffic really commenced.
Watt's liveliness continued immediately as he watched his effort edge inches wide of the post, before both Eastmond and Massey saw chances go begging. The pressure from the U's was relentless as wave after wave of attack ploughed forward.
The Cumbrians were sitting ever deeper into their half as the U's pressed them tirelessly, and Freddie Sears lashed in a shot that Gillespie did well to tip just over the bar.
It had been coming, and with twenty minutes to play the U's drew level - Gillespie went walkabouts in the visiting goal and Massey expertly brought down a cross and teed up SEARS, who fired in on the half-volley.
Twenty minutes on the clock for the U's to bag another goal that their second-half pressure would deserve but, despite a succession of corners, that winning goal would prove elusive.
The unbeaten run goes on for Joe Dunne's side, but it is a case of what might have been as an undoubtedly deserved two points drifted away from them on Friday night.
Table-topping Leyton Orient are next in town at the weekend as the U's look to bring their one-hundred-percent start to the campaign crashing down.
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Date:Tuesday August 27 2013
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2006 - U's March To The Top (Thursday February 7 2013)
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2000 - Lua Lua Steals Late Win (Tuesday January 8 2013)
2006 - Late Layer Road Drama (Wednesday January 2 2013)
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