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Colchester

Saturday, 18 September 2010
Ref: Horwood
Att:
17,857

Southampton
01 Davis
03 Harding (Dickson 72)
06 Fonte
12 Butterfield - yellow card
19 Seaborne
04 Schneiderlin
10 Puncheon (Holmes 72)
14 Hammond
26 Chamberlain (Guly 90+1)
07 Lambert
09 Barnard

Substitutes
24 Bialkowski
05 Dickson
15 Jaidi
11 Guly
21 Holmes
36 Pulis
29 Doble


Colchester

12 Cousins
04 Okuonghae - yellow card
05 Baldwin (Reid 46)
23 Tierney (James 34)
25 White
10 Izzet
14 Bond
17 Perkins
22 Wordsworth
07 Vincent
19 Mooney - yellow card (Odejayi 86)

Substitutes
01 Williams
06 Reid
28 Heath
26 James
15 Odejayi
16 Henderson
27 Henderson

Southampton 0

Colchester 0


Before I talk about the game I must tell you to watch the late night Football League Show tonight (or like me record it!) Clem was at the stadium when i arrived with his camera team and they were still filming when my guests for the pre match tour arrived, Mrs Adkins and their two sons, I was also going to take Mrs Crosby, (Coaches wife) and their two daughters but they were held up after going to look at some properties. Mrs Adkins told me she had never been to Southampton and only arrived last night so this was her first view of St Mary's, as it was also for the two lads who I guess were both in their late teens. One is at Uni and the other on the books of Doncaster Rovers. They were bowled over by what they saw, Mrs Adkins, who told me to call her Angie, said she never imagined the stadium to be so big and impressive, the dressing rooms made the lads gasp but walking down the tunnel out in to a sun baked stadium had them all drooling.

I showed them around inside and out and telling some bits of club history on the way. At the end of the mini tour all three said how impressed they were. I saw Mrs Crosby and her children later and she apologised for missing the tour. The Adkins were lovely people and very interested to learn as much as they could about the club and I have a feeling we have a manager and a family who seem to be of solid stock. Angie was very nice and friendly and the two boys smart and polite but they too were eager to know all about the club their dad had come to manage. Keep this off other message boards please as this is personal stuff for your eyes only.

Now to the game, as i have mentioned it was a glorious sunny day and the pitch looked immaculate and most of the crowd were in shirt sleeves. No real surprises in the saints team. Seaborne kept his place as Aaron Martin is still injured and Lee Barnard came back in to the side after suspension in place of Connolly, who I also understand was injured (the new Pahars?). Nigel Atkins received a warm round of applause as he stepped on to the pitch to acknowledge the crowd. Saints kicked off towards the Northam end and looked sharp but Colchester looked a tidy team and they dealt with us early on and then came in to the game themselves. The first half was not much to write about, but i did notice that when we had possession the two wide men Chamberlain and Puncheon kept right out on the touchline but once the visitors had possession they came inside to make a tighter midfield.

With just 30 minutes gone Colchester were forced to make a substitution, ex saint Lloyd James coming on, Lloyd received a very generous round of applause from all around the ground. Nice gesture to a nice lad and a good player.

As the game went on saints began to look nervous as moves broke down, the Colchester defence was well organised and they snuffed out all our attempts to break them down and the ball just did not run for us and the visitors always looked dangerous on the break. They had a tiny blonde midfielder who was like a wasp buzzing around getting involved right across midfield, he was a niggly character but effective. Half time came without saints not really playing poorly but not good looking good enough to win this game.
Puncheon had constantly ran into trouble and his holding on to the ball allowed the visitors to re group at the back to snuff out Lambert and Barnard. Chamberlain was the better of the two wide men and he put over one superb cross on the run that should have produced a goal.

No changes as the second half started and Colchester looked to be the more confident team, but as the half wore on saints began to look the stronger team but could not get their passes or shots away quick enough. With about 20 minutes to go NA took off the disappointing Puncheon replacing him with Lee Holmes and bringing on Ryan Dickson for Dan Harding. Holmes went left wing and Dickson left back. This almost had an immediate effect when Holmes latched on to a ball and cut inside and hit an excellent shot that nearly brought the goal we desperately needed. From then on we laid siege to the Colchester goal going close a number of times and the team looked so much stronger than in that first half. Holmes in particular was driving at their defence and he has a good left foot. I hope we can keep him fit as he looks like an old fashioned winger and has a turn of pace and he is difficult to knock off the ball, I would start him ahead of Puncheon.

There was one scare when saints were pushing hard with two minutes to go and had everyone up for a corner, the visitors broke away and they looked certain to score when twice in the same move they were one on one with KD but at the last second Kelvin smothered the ball to deny a certain score. As the official put up the board for 4 minutes of added on time NA brought on Guly to replace young Chamberlain, who came off to a standing ovation and a big pat of the back from the new manager. Twice in injury time saints had free kicks both taken by Rickie Lambert, both times they were hit with ferocity and on target but their 'keeper made two stunning saves.

So a clean sheet and some near misses. Disappointing result but I saw some good things. Colchester will not be a push over for anyone and they are unbeaten so far this season and i can see why. I felt a good buzz around the dressing room and feel that the players today played for the new manager. Rickie Lambert so nearly had a couple of goals but I suspect he is not fully fit, Fonte was having treatment on his thigh or groin during the kick around and Jaidi was warming up from the first minute of the game but Fonte played through his pain barrier and looked better than of late. I know we are not scoring goals but i do feel the big weakness is in central midfield. Hammond is struggling and in no way is he an inspirational skipper. Puncheon just does not know when to release the ball and the crowd are getting to him I think. I suggest we need to look for a box to box midfielder on loan and maybe a big strong winger with a bit of pace. Lambert and Barnard are proven goal scorers but need to have some clear cut chances carved out for them. We will be OK. Give Nigel some time to get his ideas across. Maybe not automatic promotion, but a play off place is there to be had. 39 games still to play that's 117 points!

Herbie