Sheff Wed V Col U - Full Report
U`s Seal Win With Sheringham Masterclass in Leadership
Saturday, 1st December 2007
Sheffield Wednesday Goal:
Teddy Sheringham, 1
Colchester United sealed a first league win since October against Sheffield Wednesday when veteran Teddy Sheringham justified the media clamour around him by netting after just fifty seconds.
The Essex side ended a winless run of seven matches.
First-half goals by Teddy, and recalled full-back George Elokobi, won the points as the 41-year-old striker did what all great sportsmen are able to do; shape events in thier areana rather than merely spouting empty rhetoric.
The number eight netted the second-fasters goal in the country on the first Saturday of December to lend to substance to the rather woolly claims that Colchester might climb in to the play-off positions.
Beating relegation, he might be reminded, is the priority here; dreams of simulating a repeat of last term`s fantastic tenth-place finish, even after today`s second away win of the season, remain just that.
Had the U`s not picked up a positive score today, the relegation-zone would have beckoned, with the side begin precariously perched before the start of play.
Yet, it`s a symbolic win - a victory for the club who refused defiantly to change their predilection for attacking flair and fines over mere defensive drudgery.
Sheringham, when he scored by getting the better of young Mark Beevers who deputised for the injured Michael Johnson, his comments morphed from fantasy to gain some meaning. Teddy neatly turned past a man 23 years his junior to slot a left-footed ball past Lee Grant and so mark an afternoon where the U`s would scrawl all over the form-book.
God bless any punter who had the guile to back long 11/4 against odds for the U`s to overturn a Sheffield side that had recently put five past Southampton in the Championship and enjoyed a winning run to six matches. It gets better when you peruse the betting exchanges to see that one book-maker offered a staggering 90/1 for a Colchester win with Sheringham as the game`s first scorer.
No sooner had Brian Laws been ordained as manager of the month this week than along came an OAP to wreck the script - the applause for Colchester`s evergreen forward as he was subbed acknowledged that his jinks, flicks and helpful exchanges are still a delight to watch for the neutral as much as an ardent campaigner.
To employ an over-used phrase, he is simply the kind of player you would be happy to pay to watch on a weekly basis.
By the time left-back George Elokobi had been left unmarked and able to head in a second, even those odds were looking very generous indeed.
A pinpoint Mark Yeates delivery needed two attempts to convert, but the Cameroonian had no marker in close attention as so was able to head home with ease.
Scrub the negativity is what U`s manager Geraint Williams has been pleading with enthusiasts and observes at the club to do pretty much all season - they might have even gone three goals clear through Sheringham when the striker was presented with a golden opportunity just sixty seconds after their advantage was doubled.
Wednesday threatened to wreck the party for travelling U`s fans when Akpo Sodje was left with a tap-in from Steve Watson's well-delivered corner, but an expected fight-back from the Owls did not emerge.
Don`t call it a shock, then, this win, because the persistent jokes about Sheringham`s age and questions over Colchester United`s application were never deeply engraved enough to hold sway.
It is not just this column saying so, mind, because Sheringham`s habit of roasting fresh centre-backs has been in evidence for almost as long as he has defied critics. Or indeed, for as long as he has been posponing the day that he will stop kicking a ball, which is when he began re-writing his own history.
During his 1997 autobiography - which he recently told the Times was so old that it was "rubbish," Sheringham reflected on his early days at Millwall. "It was a crazy exhilarating time," he confesses in that volune.
"There we were, little Millwall, in our first season in the First Division and topping the table until about March.
"Everybody said it couldn't last and of course it couldn't and it didn't, but we gave them all a good run for their money. We were beating the best teams when we shouldn't and getting away draws to which we had no right."
If that sounds familiar, it is because people were saying and thinking those things about Colchester last season.
They will be saying them again tonight, too, and Sheringham would be forgiven for thinking he had revived a Shakespearean theory asserting that infancy and life`s more mature phase end up beign one and the same.
One truth we can observe this teatime is that Sheringham`s end, his continued desire for results by graft, and the admission that "he owes" Colchester something for saving him from the retirement scrapheap, echoes his start.
Another is that timeworn adage about actions and words, and how one speaks louder than the other.