Town v Colchester
This afternoon Town were away at Colchester United in our first of two matches against fellow promotion contenders. Colchester had failed to win in eight games (since February) and have slipped out of the play-off places following Huddersfield’s mid-week win against Oldham.
Wilson fielded a full strength and unchanged team following the Easter Monday comfortable 3-0 win over Tranmere Rovers. Importantly Town were able to rely on an experienced bench featuring Kevin Amankwaah, Jean-Francois, Timlin, Easton, Nouble and Pericard who returns from his hamstring injury.
Wilson made much of the potential difficulty of the Colchester game this week, singling out the match as the toughest game of the month. Of course this is a month which had seen games against Leeds and Norwich. Colchester’s game at the County Ground earlier this season had certainly shown they are a force to be reckoned with, although that game was Aidy Boothroyd’s second game in charge. Only Leeds, Norwich and Millwall had won a league game at The Weston Homes Community Stadium this season so Town were indeed in for a tough task.
As for the match, Town were dominant throughout large periods but lacked the cutting edge to make chances pay. Colchester took the lead in the 24th minute when Ashley Vincent was put through on goal and scored on his third shot after Lucas saved but couldn’t keep hold of the ball. Town’s players were incensed as they believed Sheehan had been fouled in the build up to the goal.
Going behind was the last thing we wanted in such a crucial game as Town have failed to win this season after conceding first.
Just before the break, a Gordon Greer shot hit the crossbar after running unchallenged and exchanging passes with Ward.
The second half was much of the same. Town had chances but the Colchester keeper Williams was up to the mark with saves from Sheehan and Ward. Then against the run of play, sloppy defending by Town allows Wordsworth to shot from 20 yards past Lucas to make it 2-0. Wordsworth’s second and Colchester’s third was confirmed in the dying minutes.
In the end a lucky and relieved Colchester take the 3 points, but questions must be asked of Town’s strike pairing of Paynter and Austin, who were later supplemented with Pericard, with a failure to convert key chances.
Post match, Wilson stressed he never expected it to be easy and that Town need to concentrate on each game. I can’t help but think Danny needs to remember his comments in the Swindon Advertiser on Friday, where he set his sights on catching Norwich at the top of the table. I certainly never thought this was possible given the remaining games and would rather Wilson not focus on winning the league and raising expectations even further before first securing the 2nd place
I had expected Town be on 77 points by now, but they are 1 points below. With five games remaining, this loss and our poor goal difference makes it even more important to take a maximum 12 points from the next four games, before we travel to the New Den on the 8th May.
Elsewhere, both Millwall (4-0 v Gillingham) and Leeds (2-0 v Southend) won as expected to overtake Town who drop to 4th place, 2 points behind Millwall. I expected Charlton to lose at Southampton and this proved right as they went down 1-0. It has been a good day for Colchester as they go level on points with 6th place Huddersfield who were beaten 3-0 at Brentford. At the bottom Stockport’s relegation is confirmed following a 3-1 home loss to Yeovil.