Away-day joy

THE manner in which Colchester United held out for a fully-merited point at Coventry City is an illustration of just how much their away form has improved, in a short space of time.

Just a few weeks ago, only the most optimistic U’s fans would have predicted witnessing such an organised and disciplined performance on the road from their side, especially in the wake of adversity.

That Colchester were able to keep their hosts at bay for the final 20 minutes at the Ricoh Arena despite only having ten men shows how much they have progressed, on their travels.

They managed the game superbly and after four successive defeats on the road for John McGreal’s side at the start of the season, it is now four games unbeaten away from the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Tom will bounce back

TOM Lapslie showed typical maturity and responsibility to speak to the media, in the immediate aftermath of receiving the first red card of his professional career.

The Colchester United youngster was clearly hurting after being harshly given his marching orders at the Ricoh Arena, though his mood was brightened somewhat by the fact that his team-mates held out for a creditable 0-0 draw against Coventry City.

Lapslie has established himself as a tenacious, combative midfielder over the last three years or so for the U’s, so there was a cruel irony about his first-ever red card ultimately coming as the result of an innocuous handball incident.

Nevertheless, the 22-year-old has a promising career ahead of him.

He has the right mindset and professionalism to deal with setbacks such as this, no matter how unjust they are.

A sad decline

THE Weston Homes Community Stadium has been criticised by some visiting fans for lacking atmosphere, over the nine years that have passed since its inception.

Coventry City seemingly have a similar problem to Colchester United but on a broader scale at the sparsely-populated Ricoh Arena, if yesterday’s game was anything to go by.

The Sky Blues have hit hard times over recent years, hence why one of the Premier League’s founder members are now plying their trade in the fourth tier of English football.

Their excellent stadium holds more than 32,000 but little more than 7,000 turned up yesterday to witness their 0-0 draw with Colchester United.

It has been a rapid decline for Coventry and it is rather sad to see a club of their status in such a position.

At least the 350 or so U’s fans who were at the venue made their support known and as usual, got behind their side throughout the 90 minutes.

Impressive Inniss

RYAN Inniss is fast establishing himself as one of Colchester United’s shrewdest loan signings, in recent years.

The tough-tackling centre-back produced one of the best performances of his U’s spell so far in helping them keep a clean sheet and earn a well-deserved point, at Coventry City.

Inniss has shown maturity far beyond his 22 years since arriving at Colchester on loan from Premier League side Crystal Palace, in August.

U’s head coach John McGreal had a wry smile on his face when it was put to him after the Coventry draw that Inniss would make an excellent permanent signing, before replying "100 per cent".

The defender certainly has an exciting future ahead of him and is proving to be a vital component in the U’s defence.

Fortress focus

MUCH of the talk among Colchester United over the past seven days or so has been centred on the impressive improvement in their away form and rightly so.

But given the incessant nature of modern-day football, focus will now switch quickly back to their performances at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, starting with a home clash with Crewe Alexandra – and former captain Chris Porter - this weekend.

Three of the U’s next four games in League Two are at home.

And after managing one win in their last four league fixtures there, John McGreal’s team will be looking in the next few weeks to return to the kind of dominant form that made the Community Stadium such a fortress for them, last season.