Date:Wednesday November 29 2006
Colchester United (1) 5
Iwelumo, 19, 54 (Pen)
66,79 Cureton, 57
Hull City (1) 1
Matthew Calmus, at Layer Road
Colchester United extended their winning run at home to an impressive eight consecutive matches last night, as the rising East Anglian outfit welcomed back former boss Phil Parkinson by thrashing his new club, Hull City, 5-1.
It is a result that almost defies all logic. Not to worry though, because this season at Colchester United still feels like a dream to many of the Layer Road faithful.
One way or another, the tie was always going to weave itself around the Phil Parkinson narrative, and it is true to say that the U`s seemed more motivated during this game than at last weekend`s derby, against Southend United. And here`s why - the return of Phil Parkinson.
Unlike Saturday, which re-ignited a fire of an old rivalry, this game was about something fresher. Passion, pride, about playing for the shirt, and about trying to show Parky what he is missing in Britain`s oldest recorded town. In a way, it was also about proving a psychological point; for the players to show that they did not necessarily have to rely on one man to make them a good side, after all.
The match-ups and statistics prior to kick-off made intriguing reading. Hull held the record for least goals scored in the division to date, while Chris Iwelumo was down as the most fouled against player in the Championship.
At kick-off, finally, all the talking could stop. And chanting begin. The U`s looked in for a tough night as Hull took an early lead through former Ipswich striker Nicky Forster, because it seemed that having to play another demanding game, and in such a short space of time, would be beyond their grasp. It seems that every game is huge for Colchester United just now, each with added spice, and for different reasons. Take the last four home games as an example: Southampton, (former boss returns) Cardiff (were top of the table) Southend (enough said) and Hull (return of former trophy-winning boss).
But, despite being one down, United wanted it more all night; hell hath no fury like Colchester scorned. Chris Iwelumo soon levelled the scoring by chalking up his first of the evening, a header from which he was never likely to miss. At one all, there were still things to fret about, such as the fitness of stand-in left back George Elokobi.
By half time, the brain was fizzing over the fickle nature of the average football fan, for two reasons. Firstly, the chanting about Parky (which eventually turned into "Parky, Parky, job centre!") formed part of the moral maze - how is it possible to hate so soon somebody who won Colchester promotion? Secondly, why is it that the referee is bemoaned at every home game, and for late flagging, in particular? Any football fan should know that, in waiting for play to develop so as to allow the advantage, there will be delayed whistles evermore.
The point about Phil Parkinson, whatever you think of him as a man, is that he should be doing better with the amount of money he has had to revamp his Hull squad. Widely tipped for promotion this season, the club are not short of a few decent players, with Nick Barmby and Michael Bridges obviously the most famous names in the squad.
As for the rfereeing decisions, as long as we keep getting key ones, as was the case with a Colchester penalty award soon after the interval, everyone will be more or less happy. The stadium erupted as Chris Iwelumo converted the spot-kick; 2-1 to the U`s.
The pressure of the occasion seemed to get to Hull in this half, what with them not creating any chances of note during the next three-quarters of an hour - another great day at the office, then, for Colchester custodian Aidan Davison. The game of cat-and-mouse took over as the home side began to keep the ball at ground level to good affect, because Jamie Ceureton netted his 10th goal of the season.
A buoyant Colchester continued to crush Hull the way an anaconda does a helpless victim. Iwelumo scored twice more to ensure another three points were in the bag, as part of what was a great collective performance. If Greg Halford has got his heart set on leaving, he did not show it here. When was the last time the side performed so well? How far can Colchester really get this season?
These questions came as the timeworn battle of the old master (Parkinson) against the plucky apprentice (Williams) concluded with everyone`s favoured twist - victory for the novice. Increasingly, the appointment of Geraint at the helm looks a great decision, as evidenced by this morning`s League table, which shows Colchester in 7th place. Last night was a proud one for the team and the town. Most importantly of all, it was great for the supporters, whose encouragement has rekindled an almost unbreakable spirit along the terraced fortress that is Layer Road.
Date:Wednesday November 29 2006
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