A strangely lacklustre display

IT’S hard to recall too many Colchester United performances this season as insipid as the one they produced at struggling Crewe Alexandra.

The U’s just failed to get going at Gresty Road against a side previously without a win since New Year's Day and ultimately paid the price, after Shaun Miller pounced to score Alex’s winner on the hour mark.

The timing of Colchester’s lacklustre display was strange, not least as they had gone into the game on the back of a five-game unbeaten run and an impressive 2-1 victory over Coventry City.

The U’s lack of energy and drive was equally as surprising but head coach John McGreal deserves credit for not blaming the performance on his side’s recent gruelling schedule, which has seen them travel more than 1,000 miles and play three matches, in the past seven days.

It could have been worse

COLCHESTER United’s defeat at Crewe Alexandra will not go down as one of their finest performances of the season, by any stretch of the imagination.

But one consolation was that they remain three points off the play-off places in League Two, albeit with now one game fewer to play.

Defeats for the likes of Exeter City and Lincoln City have aided Colchester’s cause but they have played more games than the majority of the teams around them in the table.

The U’s have 12 games remaining this season to achieve their goal of finishing in the top seven.

And with some tough games to come in the final weeks of the campaign against the likes of Notts County, Accrington Stanley and Swindon Town, a home win against bottom club Barnet this weekend is surely a must for John McGreal’s side.

Wing-back worries

JOHN McGreal has favoured a 3-4-2-1 formation for much of this season.

One of the big reasons for the success of that system under McGreal has been the consistent form of wing-backs Ryan Jackson and Kane Vincent-Young, who are pivotal to the way Colchester United play.

So the fact that the U’s have been without one of their recognised wide players for each of their last three matches has not been particularly helpful.

Jackson made a welcome return at Crewe following a quad injury but Vincent-Young dropped out, due to his on-going hamstring problem.

One positive is that Brennan Dickenson has appeared in the left wing-back position in each of Colchester last two games as a second-half substitute, while Drey Wright has also filled in competently.

But the disruption caused by injury doubts over Jackson and Vincent-Young is not ideal, given their importance to the side.

A solid foundation

IT was hard to pick out an outstanding Colchester United performer, following their 1-0 loss at Crewe Alexandra.

Their uninspiring performance meant that no individual really stood out on the day and their lack of creativity and craft as an attacking force was telling.

Nevertheless, Colchester’s back three continued their impressive recent form as a defensive unit.

Club captain Luke Prosser has been a rock at the back since returning from his long-term injury and Frankie Kent and Tom Eastman have stepped up to the plate alongside him, along with the consistent Sam Walker between the sticks.

Only seven sides in League Two have a better defensive record than the U’s so far this season and their solid foundation at the back certainly bodes well for the remainder of the campaign.

An unappetising display

COLCHESTER United were superbly backed by 200 noisy supporters at Gresty Road yesterday.

The U’s contingent were situated in the Ice Cream Van Stand but sadly, there was little sweet about their team’s performance in losing 1-0 at Crewe Alexandra.

Colchester head coach John McGreal made a point of thanking Colchester’s away following for their support, in the aftermath of the disappointing defeat.

After giving up their Saturday and making the 414-mile round trip to Cheshire, they certainly deserved a great deal more than the unappetising display served up by their side.