Date:Friday December 29 2006
Luckless Luton outscored by fortunate U`s
Colchester U (2) 4 Luton T (1)1
Iwelumo, 41, 65
Vine (Pen, 85)
Tuesday, 26th December 2006
Colchester United`s sparkling form at Layer Road continued, as they put four goals past a struggling Luton, extending their winning run at home to ten consecutive games.
Intellectualising the simple art of football can sometimes overcomplicate it, but goals won this game. Superior finishing in Britain`s oldest recorded town was textbook stuff.
The U`s have now racked up 40 points since their elevation to football`s second tier last summer, and are having a dream first season in the Championship, as the strike force of Jamie Cureton and Chris Iwelumo continue - between them - to give many a 'keeper recurring nightmares.
After the narrow loss to Person three days previous, Colchester were relieved to be back on home soil, facing a side whose progress on the field this season has been as slow as off it.
Mike Newell recently stated that the club had "gone backwards" and the hatters luck showed no signs of improving here, despite a strong first-half performance, in which they had more chances than Colchester. Somehow, Luton had a two-goal deficit to overturn after 45 minutes, as an impressive Kevin McLeod header, and then a sliding Chris Iwelumo touch, ensured the lead.
Background research on Luton does not suggest that they are a lucky club and, in many ways, U`s punters could probably identify with their plight. An aspiring club, they must use any recouped transfer money to keep the club afloat, which makes them unable to invest too heavily in new players. The club, not helped by their closeness to London, also surrender supporters to bigger clubs that lay just a stone`s throw away.
Like Colchester, Luton have wanted to leave their home patch at Kenilworth Road for a long time - nearly 30 years. Their dream move was set to go ahead in 1997, until a widening of the M1 forced them to shelve the plans.
Since then, an unexpected promotion under bright young manager Newell has broken the darkness, but superior finishing by Colchester United was, in this game, enough to finish them off.
The half-time scoreline did flatter the U`s, because Luton had been chasing the game after losing the first goal, having clear opportunities through Brkovic, former U`s striker Rowan Vine, and an angled drive from Zac Barrett magnificently saved by Dean Gerken in Colchester`s goal.
Colchester began the second half in the same way as they had the first - with Chris Iwelumo hitting the woodwork after a layoff by Jamie Cureton. The pair are in top form, and Iwelumo, benefiting from a well-timed Cureton run to assist his header, soon got a second - and the U`s fourth - goal. Before that, Richard Garcia hit the string, after a curved cross from Kevin Watson, to fire in the crucial third goal.
It was always going to be the third strike that defined this match because had Luton scored, it might have been a different story. Even after the U`s went four up, Rowan Vine had an effort cleared off the line. It was Vine, stepping up to convert a penalty late on, who spoilt Dean Gerken`s clean sheet.
Despite bagging three points, Geraint Williams made it clear from his words in the press conference that he has high standards, because he was "a bit disappointed" with the overall performance, presumably because of the amount of time on the ball, and number of attacks, Luton enjoyed. "We had to reply on some creative goalkeeping from Dean Gerken" he added.
Following another great victory though, this column is running out of reasons to explain the team`s home winning streak. It is best defined, along with the league placing, by the words on what was a popular Christmas present from the club shop. If last season was, 'Against all odds` - as the DVD review of 2005/6 would have it - this season is just unbelievable.
Date:Friday December 29 2006
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