Date:Monday December 4 2006
Scoreless game not pointless as brave U`s draw to keep pressure on teams above
Cardiff City (0) 0 Colchester United (0) 0
Attendance: 13, 512
Saturday, 2nd December 2006
A vital away point earned by Colchester United, after they clinched a 0 - 0 draw against high-flying Cardiff, has added hope that the U`s can keep increasing their overall tally on the road.
The result prompts the pantomimic line from perennial tale Oliver, because those watching back in East Anglia might have been impressed enough to utter: "Please, sir, I want some more," in reference to a patchy away points total.
To expect a win would have been a big ask of Colchester, especially since they had only managed to collect six points outside of Layer Road - and that Cardiff had only lost once in their back yard - before kick-off. It promised to be an exciting contest, not least because Colchester`s emphatic win in November (3-1 in the corresponding tie) was still fresh in the mind.
In fact, the fixture list had thrown together two of the biggest over-achievers in the Championship to date, pitching them head-to-head in a battle that seemed to resemble boxing rather than soccer; both looking to land a knock-out blow that would leave the other slumped out cold on the ropes.
Despite being away from home, Geraint Williams made no secret of his intention to do the double over Cardiff within the space of a month. A bit ambitious? Maybe, but ambition and desire remain the watchwords in Essex at the moment, illuminated last week by consecutive victories over Southend United and Hull City.
Colchester did not lack hunger at all, with outstanding performances coming from able stand-ins George Elokobi and Dean Gerken, the latter of whom made at least three great saves during the game. Gerken, who also kept a clean sheet against QPR, replaced regular 'keeper Aidan Davison, after he pulled out with injury despite travelling with the squad.
Cardiff`s danger men made themselves obvious right from the start, with the Welsh outfit looking to play in Michael Chopera, and the two wingers, wherever possible. To counter this, Colchester gave Kevin Watson his first start in six weeks (at the expense of Kevin McLeod).
Issues of fitness dominated a game that saw Cardiff run out winners in the possession stakes, particularly in the first-half. Watson pulled up once, but was able to continue, and Karl 'Mr. Colchester` Duguid impressed with constant harrying - which resulted in one sequence of play of 12 passes - to prove that he has now put his injury woe firmly behind him.
Before this spell of U`s possession, Dean Gerken also made an instinctive reaction save to deny Ricky Scimeca, which helped keep the scores blank, and silence three-quarters of Ninian Park, by the interval.
The second half was almost symmetrical to the first, where the hope was that Cardiff would eventually throw bodies forward in search of a goal and, in so doing, leave space for Colchester to exploit.
That is exactly what began to happen, and Colchester`s vigilante striker Jamie Cureton managed to rob the opposing defence four times during the half, but was unable to score. His partner in crime, Jamie Guy - off the bench to replace a hurt Iwelumo on the hour- also presented the Bluebirds with a few problems, in terms of pace, power and agility.
Guy, however, could not break the deadlock, as Colchester were forced to clear one shot from off their own goal-line. Cardiff also failed to score, which makes it six hours since they last hit the back of the net.
This one ended a draw, both sides riding their luck without success. It goes down as one of those rare occasions where a nil-all result is actually healthier in reality than it looks when written on the page. Better than that, it means Colchester have taken seven points from a possible nine in the space of a week. Not even Oliver Twist would have been able to complain about that kind of a return.
Date:Monday December 4 2006
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