Date:Friday August 17 2007
Limp Colchester Pay Price
Shrewsbury Town (0) 1 Colchester United (0) 0
Tuesday 14th August 2007 Attendance: 3,026
Midfielder Johnnie Jackson’s penalty-miss minutes before the end of extra time on Tuesday in the Carling Cup clash with Shrewsbury sealed defeat for Colchester United in the first round of the competition for a second consecutive year.
While rivals Norwich trounced Barnet 5-2, and Ipswich at least fought in a thrilling contest against MK Dons, the U’s produced a limp display in what was the first competitive match at the £15 million New Meadow stadium in sunny Shropshire.
Life is not a dress-rehearsal, they say, but Colchester’s performance could, in most harsh observations, be seen as a regression by comparison to last Saturday’s heroic display against Championship big-guns Sheffield United; the game felt distantly like a pre-season tie.
After the dramatics of last weekend, and given a modest 3,000 gate for the first competitive match in a 10,000-seater ground, an anti-climax, in hindsight, seemed almost inevitable.
One only need consult the history books, or scan a list of results, to discover a trend of upsets on the night the U’s fell out of the competition. Colchester’s notoriety as an underdog, which usually serves so well in the league, wares thin when it comes to this competition, even by the admission of manager Geriant Williams.
What standing does a League Cup winner’s medal now hold in the modern game? An indication could, perhaps, be found on the teamsheets. Of the 22 men for both clubs who began domestic matches last weekend, only 13 had survived.
Colchester handed full debuts to defender Danny Granville and midfielder Luke Gutteridge and a first start of the season to John White. Of seven changes to the Shrewsbury side Liverpool loanee Michael Ryan, and 6’6 striker Fola Onibuje, were the pre-match danger men.
After kick-off, though, Colchester were undone by Shrewsbury’s Stewart Drummond, whose first-half efforts, and a rare lack of composure in the final third, helped them keep the score blank. During the first 45, of four goal attempts, the U’s had two, one through auxiliary forward Mark Yeates, the other left-back, George Elokobi. Both players gave third-choice Shrews keeper Ryan Esson little trouble.
Shrewsbury were responsible for creating the best action of the half, though, when forcing Colchester stopper Dean Gerken into a good save to deny Michael Symes as his header looked destined to hit the string.
On the attacking front, while the scores remained square, Colchester were less than improved during the second half since Shrewsbury again came closest to scoring though a succession of corners. It become clear that the home side would pose maximum threat from set pieces.
That was the case deep into extra time, when defender Darren Kempson broke the deadlock with a header in the 106th minute. Even the introduction of livewire Anthony Wordsworth as a potential match-winner on his U’s debut from the bench could not change events. Wordsworth had seen his only effort, which was a curling drive, whiz past Esson at nil-all.
Drama was afoot before the final whistle sounded, though; Colchester’s Kem Izzet, a late sub, charged into the penalty area, only to be brought down by the game’s scorer Kempson. Esson speared him the embarrassment of conceding the infringement when Colchester kicker Jackson failed to convert from 12 yards, leaving Shrewsbury to complete an historic win.
Date:Friday August 17 2007
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