They are as strong as an old oak tree, as the terrace chant goes.

And if ever there was a time for Colchester United and their players to stay secure in adversity, last Friday was it.

It was certainly an experience reporting on the U’s game against Swindon Town.

I certainly can’t remember ever covering a game played out in worse conditions, in my 13 years as a sports writer.

So I can only imagine how difficult it was for the players who were tasked with playing football on the windswept, saturated pitch.

With strong gales and heavy rain swirling around the County Ground prior to kick-off, I for one was amazed that the match took place at all.

With footballs rolling almost the entire length of the pitch on their own and one of the goalmouths so saturated the ball hardly bounced, it was quite a surprise that it was given the green light, after two inspections.

How ironic that Darren Sheldrake, the referee who controversially twice ruled out a legitimate Steven Gillespie strike in the U’s 1-0 defeat at Charlton Athletic in 2011, should be the one to make the somewhat contentious decision, in his first experience in charge of a Colchester match since that fateful night at the Valley. T

he events prior to kick-off made for a strange atmosphere but both sides deserve credit for the way in which they dealt with the conditions.

That is especially so for the U’s, who after dealing with the inconvenience of having to play a day earlier than scheduled produced a professional and disciplined performance.

As if the conditions were not enough, their solidarity was tested further when Sanchez Watt’s red card forced them to play more than a quarter of the game with only ten men.

But their determination should be applauded.

Indeed, their performance in claiming a draw was another example of a Joe Dunne side reflecting the never-say-die attitude of their manager.

All for one and one for all, as the terrace chant goes.