Date:Tuesday February 27 2007
Clarets hold U`s in no-score draw
Colchester United (0) 0 Burnley (0) 0
Saturday, 25th February 2007
Matthew Calmus, at Layer Road
Catch any Colchester United fan in a rational mood after this zero-zero draw against Burnley at Layer Road, and they will probably admit that a mid-table finish lies at the end of their first season on the helter-skelter of football`s second tier.
Despite instance that the Championship`s beauty is in its unpredictability, the table does not lie; the bigger sides, like Colchester`s next opposition, Derby County, are rising finally to the top.
United, now down in tenth, created few chances here, against a Burnley side who toiled their way to a draw. The Clarets had come to deliberately frustrate in looking to end a winless run of 14 games.
Power and prowess won out over arty football this time, to produce a first nil-all score at home this season, even though U`s manager, Geraint Williams, had adapted his preferred 4-4-2 formation, gearing it towards attack. It included probing wingers Kevin McLeod and Richard Garcia, in an attempt to break down Steve Cotterill`s stubborn side.
Colchester do not tend to specialise in 'bore draws` and those under the lights of the Layer Road auditorium seemed as unhappy with just a point as the manager.
"I`m getting fed up with teams coming here and trying to stop us playing and we have to keep the belief. It was disappointing we didn`t create more," said Williams.
In fact, the U`s created only one chance of note during each half. During the first period, strikers Jamie Cureton and Chris Iwelumo linked in the box, after half-an-hour, for a first close effort. Iwelumo fired a shot wide from six yards.
Due an injury to Burnley defender Wayne Thomas, a suspected broken ankle, action was delayed. Before this, United had seen two efforts, from defender Wayne Brown and another from Iwelumo, zoom over the bar.
Burnley had a similar number of attempts on goal, which £150,000 January-capture Joey Gudjonsson looking the most likely to provide a goal.
The visitors then went close after the interval, with an 18-yard turn-shot from Claret striker Ade Akinbiyi being brilliantly saved by Dean Gerken, while Garcia headed over the bar with eighty-seven minuets on the clock.
That was a chance which he later admitted he should have buried, for what would have been a sixth goal of the season: "I should really have scored. I tried to keep the header down, but I couldn`t read the bounce.
"It was a nothing second-half for us. We just couldn`t break them down," added the Australian.
Before the game, Geraint Williams had offered some fiery program notes, which looked to extinguish claims that Colchester have reached a comfort zone, now that the season`s original goal of avoiding relegation has already been secured.
He wrote, "I`ve seen a lot written in the press about us achieving a 51 points target."
"However, I`ve never set a points figure because I feel that if this is reached, it`s psychologically bad as you feel that the job is done. We want as many points as we can get."
Young battlers Hogan Ephraim and Jamie Guy, the latter of whom may now move out on loan, in order to get more first-team football, arrived on the scene from the bench, but to no avail.
As Williams himself, in the same matchday column before kick-off, had insisted: "Talking a good game is one thing, but playing it is another."
It needed only this game to prove just how right he was.
Date:Tuesday February 27 2007
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