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Born and Bred: Colchester United

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ScottT's avatar Group ScottT 2017-04-22 15:42
gb 534 posts 67 likes joined Apr 04, 2016

January Review

January saw new faces join in an attempt to restore form and continue our push. We began the month against Cheltenham, a side who beat us 2-0 not too long ago and were still very much continuing their dream return to League Two as they looked like serious playoff contenders. The game was extremely tight, as many would expect in a game featuring two similar footballing sides and it took Brennan Dickenson, who hasn't featuring too much since the return from Drey Wright to give us the goal to break the deadlock, cutting in from the left hand side and finishing beautifully. Cheltenham would continue to threaten but Thomas Lapsile would give us a second with twenty minutes to go to ensure we would get revenge.

Another home game following against Carlisle, yet another playoff contender currently sat in 10th position in the league. The game would mark the debut of Kyle Knoyle and Joe Aribo and it would be Knoyle himself who gave us the lead from the penalty spot after Drey Wright was brought down clumsily by Luke Joyce. The Cumbrians would pose little threat in front of goal, even after Aaron Wilbraham was taken off in place of Jamie Proctor. Sean Murray would secure his 11th of the season from his central midfielder role, the next Gerrard perhaps? And that's how the game ended, a perfect start to the month.

Next up followed a difficult journey to Wales to play the overachieving Newport County. County were sat in 16th and comfortably above the relegation zone in which they were predicted to be around at the start of the season. In our previous meeting they would steal a victory as both sides finished with ten men, however the winning goalscorer Ryan Bird wasn't to start today. Newport have arguably one of the worst pitches at this level, it is virtually impossible to play 'decent football on,' to quote Plymouth manager Derek Adams.

Newport were the better side in the first half as Alex Samuel and Flo Bojaj posed a constant threat to our keeper Dean Brill. A number of efforts were well saved by the Englishman, especially when Samuel got through one on one but he spread himself well to turn it round the post. Early on in the first half full-back Mickey Demetriou would have a long range effort brush the crossbar on the way over, however in our perhaps only real attack of the game we would punish. Tarique Fosu made a darting run down the wing and was played through by Sean Murray which allowed him to come in and finish well. The full time result would end Newport County 0 Colchester United 1.

Exeter City were our next opposition a side who occupied one of the relegation places and were in horrible form coming into the game after picking up just a single point their last six games and not winning in 17 in all competitions. Now managing by Paul Dickov following the sacking of Paul Tisdale, who had managed the club for the last decade, Exeter were beaten 1-0 after a Chris Porter goal on the hour mark and weren't a challenge until the 90th minute when a number of chances for Liam McAlinden weren't taken. It meant that we had won our previous five games heading into the trip to Wycombe.

So to conclude the month was a trip to Adams Park against a Wycombe side who were also in fantastic form and also chasing the promotion places. The game was a rather boring affair beside the goals and Wanderers would get a quickfire double, first Scott Kashket would give them the lead after half an hour and would be followed up by Cardiff City loanee Rhys Healey just two minutes later. Chris Porter, who was slowly asserting himself back into the goals again scored in the 57th minute but the game fizzled out from there and our form would take a backseat for now.

Our fixtures next month are the following: Blackpool (A,) Barnet (H,) Crawley Town (H,) Accrington Stanley (A,) Hartlepool United (H) and Grimsby Town (A.)

Goodbye Josh.. Accy legend
ScottT's avatar Group ScottT 2017-04-22 18:45
gb 534 posts 67 likes joined Apr 04, 2016

As the transfer deadline has now passed, we will take a look at League Two and run through each side within the division, starting off with the top three sides in the division.

Mansfield Town

Town have preformed above all expectations so far this season and it's all done to manager Steve Evans who was appointed in the summer. The ex Rotherham manager has proved his doubters wrong by leading the Stags to the top of the table so far following a 12th place finish last campaign. The likes of Jean Kean, who came in on loan from Sheffield Wednesday and has kept 14 clean sheets this far making him record the highest amount of these has been key to the success.

Matt Green has also been a massive part to the jigsaw for Evans' sides as he has bagged 15 league goals so far, adding to his 16 from last seasons total. He has been linking well with Shaquille Coulthrist who was loaned in from League One side Peterborough and has been nicknamed 'Shaq Attack' by the Mansfield faithful, as the winger has totalled nine assists only bettered by Colchester winger Tarique Fosu (12.)

The strong defensive line has also benefitted Kean – the back four made up of the usual Rhys Bennett, Krystian Pearce, Kyle Howkins and Mal Benning has seen only 23 goals in the net. Bennett and Howkins, brought in by Evans at the beginning of the season, are just a few examples of some good business in the window and The Stags will most certainly be one of the favourites to go up with their current league position.

Plymouth Argyle

Argyle were certainly one of the favourites for promotion after the heartbreak of last season's playoff final loss against Wimbledon. They bought well in the summer with the signings of Arnold Garita and the loan signing of Craig Tanner from Reading and the two have contributed well, Garita has netted 13 times this season whilst his teammate has done so 11 times.

However, one of the key men for the Janners would have to be Graham Carey. Carey, who was brought in last season by Derek Adams as he played under his management at Ross County has been a creative genius behind the two strikers of Garita and the rotating partner of either Ryan Taylor, Jake Jervis or Jimmy Spencer adding to the new addition of Mallik Wilks, brought in on loan from Leeds United. He has one of the highest amount of 'key passes' in the division with 30 so far and has since been the subject of interest from League One sides Bolton and MK Dons.

Yet the contribution of the central defenders Jakub Sokolik and Sonny Bradley cannot be ignored either. The two have averaged above a 7.1 (based off data collected by ProZone) on average and have been the main reasons behind the 11 clean sheets collected this season, along with full-back Oscar Threlkeld and defensive midfielder Yann Songo'o, making up for the sub-standard keeping of Luke McCormick. With this said, I think if the performances of those players drop it will cost the side so it will be interesting to see if they can hold onto the automatic promotion place they occupy.

Accrington Stanley

Stanley have once again been the overachievers of the division so far and even fans won't believe how well the club have done thus far. The club narrowly missed out on promotion last season following an 88th minute winner from Matt Taylor for Bristol Rovers to send them up over Accrington, who hit the bar three times in a 0-0 draw to Stevenage on the last day of the season. They then went on to lose in extra-time against eventual winners Wimbledon following an Adebayo Akinfenwa goal.

Since then the club lost key men in Josh Windass and Matt Crooks to Rangers, who had pre-agreed deals to join the Scottish giants and Piero Mingoia to Cambridge United. However Billy Kee, one of last season's 'heroes' has continued to keep that tag as he has had a massive impact on the club once again. So far he has scored an impressive total of 19 league goals, which have seen Stanley become the highest goalscorers in the division so far.

Another fan-favourite from last season has been a reason for the 'Accrington miracle.' This time it's the Irishman Seamus Conneely. His versatility has been key to Stanley so far, playing in a number of positions such as right-back, central-midfield and on a few occasions center-back. He has a total of ten league assists this season and is arguably one of the best players in the division currently.

John Coleman, who is now in his second stint at the club and has been here for the last two seasons, has also looked at the youth ranks at the club and brought through the likes of Luke Moran, who has started 19 games this season to his first team. This adds to the young loanees of Juanma, Marek Rodak and Jordan Williams from Liverpool – which mixes well with the experienced heads of Kee, Terry Gornell, Mark Hughes and Scott Brown. The well worked methods of Coleman are paying off at the Wham Stadium and I wouldn't be surprised if Stanley achieved the 'impossible' and gained promotion at the end of the 2016/17 season.

Goodbye Josh.. Accy legend
InfraRed's avatar Group InfraRed 2017-04-22 19:54
gb 1750 posts 141 likes joined Nov 09, 2013
nice write up - must be scary to a point, seeing Accrington signing so much young talent, but I reckon you've got what it takes to handle it!

ScottT's avatar Group ScottT 2017-04-23 17:08
gb 534 posts 67 likes joined Apr 04, 2016
Infra- Wish they would sign these players in real life, not bad at all :P

Goodbye Josh.. Accy legend
ScottT's avatar Group ScottT 2017-04-23 21:01
gb 534 posts 67 likes joined Apr 04, 2016
We continue our run through of the League Two season so far with the teams currently in the playoff places.

Wycombe Wanderers

It's been a mixed few years at Adams Park under the tenure of Gareth Ainsworth who took the reigns at the club in 2012 following his spell as a player. From finishing 22nd and just above the drop zone in the 13/14 season to losing in the playoff final to Southend United the next and another poor mid-table finish last campaign, Wanderers are a unpredictable side for certain. Ahead of the 2016/17 season we predicted the Chairboys would be on course for another mid-table finish, finishing narrowly in the top half however they have overperformed thus far.

The Grenadian central defender Aaron Pierre has been a huge asset to the side as he has continually improved on his strong ending to last season by having one of the highest successful tackle ratios in the division. Yet to miss a game, he has very much been a reliable man in the back four beside his usual partner of Anthony Stewart and the pair have worked very successfully.

Luke O'Nien has also improved on his performances from last season as he has established himself as one of the top defensive midfielders within the division, breaking up the play alongside the more creative Dominic Gape. Gape, who joined after his release from the successful Southampton academy, has recorded an impressive 82% pass completion ratio whereas O'Nien has an average above 3 tackle per game, only bettered by Liam Kelly, Alex Kenyon, Michael Woods and Thomas Lapsile in the midfield department.

The loan of extension of Cardiff City striker Rhys Healey is an interesting one after he enjoyed a good run of games in his spell and will most certainly be the source of goals at Adams Park alongside Scott Kashket and Alex Jabukiab – the three are all very capable at this level and it will be expected for them to bag more goals heading into the latter half of the season. Personally I think Wycombe have what it takes to hang on to a playoff spot and potentially regain their League One status they lost in 2012.

Colchester United

The U's were relegated to League Two last season and this saw a mass turnover of both players and staff with the likes of George Moncur and Alex Gilbey leaving and John McGreal resigning as manager. This saw the surprise appointment of Paddy McLaughlin, who has since gone on to prove his doubters, including ourselves, wrong. United were predicted to finish outside the playoff places due to the massive upheaval but with recent results especially, look like serious promotion contenders.

One of the key men for United is the winger Tarique Fosu who has terrorized defences across the league with his pace, flair and crossing ability. The Englishman has recorded an impressive total of 12 assists and 5 league goals so far this season and has worked well with the rotating frontmen Chris Porter and Bradley Fewster, seeing the duo also score plenty of goals so far this campaign with a total of 17 league goals between them.

The central pairing of Tom Eastman and Luke Prosser has also been something to behold at The Weston Homes Community Stadium. Averaging some of the best performances in the division (Eastman with a 7.2 and Prosser with a 7.3, as recorded by ProZone) the duo have been instrumental in maintaining the good run of form as of late, which has seen Colchester race back into the promotion picture after a torrid couple of months previously.

Finally, the jigsaw is completed by the Irish middle man Sean Murray who has found his level after loans to Wigan Athletic and Swindon Town failed. After being released by Watford, he made the move to United and has found form immediately under McLaughlin's management. He has 12 goals and 7 assists so far this season and will be difficult to keep hold of with his current form as League One clubs are knocking on the door. I personally believe that United are strong enough to continue their push and with the injury troubles fading they're only getting stronger.

Luton Town

Joining in January last season, Nathan Jones led Luton Town to an 11th placed finish last season and has continued his impressive management thus far. The Hatters bought well in the window with the likes of Danny Hylton joining the ranks after his promotion winning season with Oxford United last season and he is one of many signings that have impressed at Kenilworth Road.

Hylton has partnered Jack Marriot up front and the duo have been a massive success as they continue to rip up the division. Marriot has gone on to scored an impressive total of 22 league goals already and add this to the 12 scored by Hylton, beating his total scored at United last season, it makes for one of the most deadliest strike partnerships in the league.

Alongside the two is the ever present Cameron McGeehan who has steadily become a fan-favourite at the club over the years. The Northern Irishman has already scored five goals from his midfield role as well as assisting three and having one of the dribbles completed per game ratios within the division. Now starting to mature as a 21 year old, he has averaged a 7 rating (collected by ProZone) and is set for his first senior cap for his country.

Jordan Cook also enjoyed a successful January and is looking like continuing his good form after scoring five goals within the month. Since joining from Walsall in the Summer he has bagged nine goals and eight assists also from the wing and it makes for good reading for Luton fans as they are, to no surprise, one of the highest scoring oppositions in the league due to the impact he has made on the flank. With that said I personally think that Luton have what it takes to secure a playoff spot and will push it right to the wire for the automatic promotion places.


By now many folk know the fall of the South-coast club Portsmouth from FA Cup winners in 2008 to plying their trade in this division just six years later after their relegation from League One in 2013. A poor first couple years looked frightening for all at Fratton Park but a sixth placed finish last season restored some parity. Although they lost to Plymouth, the club set their sights on returning to League One for this season as they aimed for a title challenge.

Although the club are currently off the pace, they are still within contention after a sudden climb in recent months. Mostly down to the performances of Eoin Doyle who has scored 16 goals this season, which makes up for one of the poorer defensive records amongst the contenders. On loan from Preston North End, he has become a clinical finisher at the club and has formed a good partnership with winger Gary Roberts as well as aiding the development of Conor Chaplin.

To further our point on the winger Roberts, he may now be heading towards his peak years at 32 but it hasn't slowed him down at all. From the wing, he has totalled 12 league goals which makes him have the highest amount of goals from this position and already beats his record of seven from the last season and his second best goalscoring season in his career, only behind the 14 scored at Accrington Stanley in 2005 when the club were in the Conference.

Portsmouth have very little standout players but this just makes them a solid side and good enough for the playoffs in my book. With the financial advantage over the other clubs in the division it has saw some good signings be made such as ex Liverpool youngster Damien Plessis be brought in on a free transfer and Hamza Choudbury head to Fratton Park on loan. It'll be interesting to see if the wait for promotion will continue under the reign of Paul Cook.

Goodbye Josh.. Accy legend
ScottT's avatar Group ScottT 2017-04-24 17:59
gb 534 posts 67 likes joined Apr 04, 2016
We continue our review of the clubs so far by capping off the top half of the League Two table as of 1st February 2017.

Carlisle United

After another poor season in League Two, Carlisle heavily recruited over the summer with new manager Keith Curle, who started his first full season with the Cumbrians. The likes of Reggie Lambe and Jamie Devitt joined from Mansfield Town and Morecambe respectively and were joined by numerous loans including Macauley Gillesphey and Jamie Proctor. With this said, United were predicted to be chasing the playoffs and it's especially what they're doing.

One of the standout players at Carlisle is the on loan central defender Rob Dickie. After a good loan spell in the National League last season with Cheltenham, the club took the chance to allow him to test new waters and haven't looked back since. A versatile option too, capable as a full-back option, he has been unbeatable in the air this season and it has seen him have one of the highest headers won percentage within the division (as collected by ProZone, again.)

Another on loan individual has stepped up and this time it's the previously mentioned Jamie Proctor. Starting twenty league goals he has scored 12 and his clinicalness in front of goal has allowed him to rack up a career best already, after previous moves to Bradford City didn't work out for the ex Bolton youngster. Now back with his former club Bolton, out on loan here, it will be interesting to see where his career will lead him next.

Finally is a recent acquisition in Greg Taylor who made the move to Carlisle last week on loan from Sunderland. After making his first team debut at Kilmarnock on loan last season, he adapted well to first team football in Scotland and since has been playing for the Sunderland reserves. A loan move was arranged in order to get the young player more first team football and Curle has big plans for the full-back, he'll certainly be one to move as Carlisle look set to upset the playoff race as we approach the run in.

Cambridge United

Now without a manager following the sacking of Shaun Derry, Cambridge are currently seeking a replacement as they have openly admitted that caretaker boss Mark Bonner is unlikely to take over at the Abbey Stadium. A winless month continued a quick plummet down the league after a fantastic start to the season, with many arguing the sacking was unfair given the freak start the club had. After a ninth place finish last season, narrowly outside the playoff places a similar season was expected.

It has very much been a team effort by United, with little standout players compared to the playoff rivals around them. The signings of Uche Ikpeazu and loanee Andreja Novakovich heavily influenced the start the team had, collecting a couple of goals between them to narrowly see off opposition. That is one of the problems that could see the continuing fall of Cambridge, following a lack of goals and many have argued that not allowing Derry to finish out the window was a poor decision made by the board.

A few defensive injuries have disrupted the back four with the usual Leon Legge being ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken leg and Bradley Halliday suffered a twisted ankle ruling him out for the month alongside Max Clark's damaged achilles tendon injury. This saw a tactical change from Derry which did not pay off, after his now previous employers were thrashed by the likes of Notts County, Blackpool and Accrington 3-0 all in the space of three games and three weeks. With this said, I expect the injuries will be too much for United and they will finish in the bottom half of the table continuing their downward spiral.


Joining at the end of the season, Darren Sarll's sides were predicted for a 15th place finish from ourselves and many pundits alike. Although with loan signings such as Josh McQuoid from Luton, despite a poor showing at Kenilworth Road last season, they looked like they may spring a surprise or two and It's exactly what they are currently doing in the division.

Starting with McQuoid who left Bournemouth after a second spell last season to join The Hatters on a free transfer. In his debut season he struggled and only managed three goals in 29 appearances, since his loan move to the club formerly known as Stevenage Borough (now the 'Borough' has been taken out the name since promotion from the National League in 2010,) he has managed ten goals in 23 appearances, his best goal to game ratio since his final season in his first stint at Bournemouth in the 2010/11 season.

Another impressive loan signing has been Kaylen Hinds who joined from fellow London based side, Arsenal. Coming through the ranks in 2014, he has been loaned out for the first time as he adapts to regular first team football as the Premier League side seem to be focusing on bringing through more youth talent, something unfamiliar in recent years. His first senior goal was the winner against struggling Yeovil Town in a 1-0 victory at home. Since, he has gone on to become a regular starter in the midfield.

The signing of Jobi McAnuff was perhaps regarding as strange by the fans, however the ex Reading winger has gone to impress since joining on a free in the summer. After a two year spell at Leyton Orient following his surprise release at Reading, where he featured in 35 Championship games and all 38 Premier League games the year before, the now 35 year old is winding down his career but still putting in the performances on the wing with two league goals this season. I believe that the club will remain where they are and end the season above all expectations in the top half.

Newport County

The overachievers of the league alongside Accrington Stanley have to be the Welsh side Newport County. Still playing their games at Rodney Parade and under the watchful eye of Graham Westley, County looked towards parent club Swansea in order to supply them with the players they needed to survive another year in the division.

To no surprise the star man has been one of those Swansea loanees. Alex Samuel secured a loan move to his first English club after an impressive loan spell with Scottish Championship side Greenock Morton last season and has since gone on to score ten league goals and very much been a key reason to the success County have enjoyed as of late.

His partner upfront has also been in fantastic form, Ryan Bird who had previously had poor spells at Portsmouth, Cambridge and Yeovil turned to the Welsh side for perhaps a last chance at this level of football and has since gone on to enjoy a strong start. Scoring eight league goals in 18 appearances, he has linked up well with the previously mentioned Samuel and been the reason for taking points off top sides such as Colchester United this season.

Little much can be said for County, a modest club who's aim to stay up looks likely and it's all that can be said for now, who knows where the club may go from here but I certainly do think they have what it takes in order to cap off the top half of the table, especially after the loan signing of Jaanai Gordan from West Ham United on loan until the end of the season to give another goalscoring option.

Crawley Town

Finally the top half of the table is capped off by Crawley Town who are entering their second league season in League Two since relegation in their third season in the division above, League One. Dermot Drummy was appointed at the end of last season and saw off the club as they finished 20th in League Two, steering themselves away from the relegation zone in the end after looking like a back-to-back relegation was on the cards. This time out, we predicted Crawley to do the same and finish just a couple places above.

Numerous summer signings were made as Joe Boyd, Curtis Obeng and Alex O'Hanlan all joined on a free and a quartet of loans followed with Adam Phillips, Matty Foulds, Admiral Muskwe and Aaron Lewis all joining. The best signing out of the lot would have to be Adam Phillips who has averaged an impressive 7.08 so far this season and sees himself with one of the best tackle won per game averages.

The defensive duo of Josh Yorwerth and Mark Connolly have also impressive for The Red Devils as they have been led the team from the back in order to sustain a number of results this season. This has led to the latter man taking over as captain for the season after a managerial decision was made by Drummy in late October. With that said, Crawley have had some very patchy form over the course of the season so I do expect it to eventually catch up to them and see them drop to just short of the top half of the table.

Goodbye Josh.. Accy legend
MJK46's avatar Group MJK46 2017-04-24 20:36
aq 3071 posts 282 likes joined Aug 27, 2013
Excellent set of reviews man

Give my FM17 Story a read Paris FC: Une Ambition Capitale

You are reading "Born and Bred: Colchester United".

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