Date:Saturday August 5 2006
Two divisions separated Colchester and Birmingham last season, however the U`s nearly earned themselves what would have been in many peoples eyes a shock draw at St Andrews today, only loosing out to a late goal from Nicklas Bentler at the second attempt.
The U`s fielded the same team that had started against Brighton in a friendly nearly two weeks ago, starting brightly against this seasons championship favorites passing the ball round with confidence.
However Birmingham came more into the half as it wore on with two early shots from Forcell and Dunn, both finding the side netting. Davison was also called into action saving from Tebily.
The home side finally made the break through with DJ Campbell nodding in from a cross from N`Gotty on 31mins. The home crowd must have thought that this was the cue for the flood gates to open, indeed the U`s were not going to let their heads drop and continued to work hard to create chances with Elokobi releasing Cureton soon after, only for him to find himself one on one with Taylor and in two minds whether to shoot or lob the ball over the goalkeepers head. The obvious in-decision was clear as he shot the ball goal wards only for Taylor to collect easily.
The U`s were finishing the Half strongly with both Izzet and Jackson going close.
Birmingham City 1 Colchester United 0
The U`s started the second half the same way they finished the first, with home side seemingly happy to try and soak up what the visitors had to throw at them. After great play down the left from Halford, Cureton and Duguid, the latter crossing for Garcia who scores with a well taken shot, writing his name into Colchester Uniteds History as the first man to score in the Championship.
Birmingham make their first changes, bringing their goal scorer Campbell off for Larsson and Clemance making way for Bendtner who was later to go on and score the winning Goal.
Shortly after, Steve Bruce made another change swapping Jerome for Forsell, I am not sure whether Jerome actually got a kick of the ball, but he was dismissed only 120secs later for raising his arms to Duguid. It seemed that the U`s could now go on to win the game against ten men but the hosts had different ideas.
Shuffling the pack slightly new manager Geriant Williams replaced Kemal Izzet With John White, Izzet who as usual put in one of his all round battling displays and had taken a couple of knocks to his head. With Chris Iwelumo coming on to replace Goal scorer Richard Garcia .
Shortly after with what would be the winning goal and a cruel blow to the U`s substitute Bentler found himself with a good chance to put the home team ahead after a cross from Kelly, and at the second chance after Brown had earlier blocked the first does so reacting quickest.
Williams made further changes moving John White to Right Back with Greg Halford moving into Midfield and Jamie Guy coming on to replace Jamie Cureton.
Guy having spent last season on loan to Conference side Cambridge City didn`t look out of place and was soon getting into some good positions having a good chance to equalize in injury time having a well hit shot saved well by Maik Taylor.
Colchester more than held their own, and a Draw would have been a fair result, new manager Geriant Williams can take a lot of positives from the game although the two goals conceded were the result of bad defending, the U`s can go into the game on Tuesday knowing they have nothing to fear and that they are here in the championship because this is where they belong!
Birmingham City 2 Colchester United 1
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Date:Saturday August 5 2006
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