Back down to earth – and more away-day blues

Colchester United were brought back down to earth on Saturday afternoon after they fell to a 1-0 defeat at Cambridge United.

A single goal from Uche Ikpeazu was the difference between the two sides and condemned John McGreal’s side to defeat, a week after they had thrashed Forest Green Rovers 5-1 at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Colchester spurned some decent chances both before and after Ikpeazu’s second-half strike and it cost the visitors dearly as they were unable to find the equaliser.

Speaking after the game, U’s head coach John McGreal admitted: “That’s the story of our season so far – we’re not taking our chances and at the minute we’re not making the most of those key moments in both our own box and the opposition’s box.”

The result saw the U’s drop down from 16th to 20th position in the League Two table, ahead of back to back home games against Crawley Town and Chesterfield.

New signings made to wait

Colchester United made five new signings on transfer deadline day – but only one of them featured at Cambridge United.

Attacker Sanmi Odelusi was the only U’s newcomer to feature at the Abbey Stadium and his debut was not one he will savour.

The former Wigan Athletic man, signed on a free transfer last week, came off the bench to replace Kyel Reid early in the second half.

But he appeared to be lacking match fitness and missed a sitter in stoppage-time when he headed wide when unmarked with the goal at his mercy.

Fellow new signings Nicke Kabamba and Brandon Comley were unused substitutes while Brandon Hanlan and Ryan Inniss, who was injured playing for Crystal Palace under-23s just before signing for Colchester, missed out completely.

U’s boss John McGreal hinted there will be changes for this weekend’s home clash with Crawley Town and it will not be a big surprise if several of his newest additions feature.

Curse of the ex

Players often seem to make an impact against their former club and this weekend was no exception.

When Jabo Ibehre came on as a second-half substitute for Cambridge United against his former club Colchester United, the game was finely balanced at 0-0.

But the experienced striker’s introduction helped to change the game and it was his header down that presented Uche Ikpeazu with the chance to fire home the home side’s winning goal, just after the hour mark.

Colchester’s travelling fans were affectionately chanting Ibehre’s name as he warmed up in front of them, prior to entering the action.

They were therefore probably not too surprised to see their former striker play a part in his old side’s downfall.

The Reid factor

Kyel Reid has so far proved to be one of Colchester United’s most effective summer signings, following his arrival on loan from their League Two rivals Coventry City last month.

He was a key man for the U’s in their 5-1 defeat of Forest Green Rovers last weekend, scoring and also providing an assist before going off injured.

Reid was arguably Colchester’s most effective attacking player again at Cambridge United, although he was guilty of spurning an excellent chance in the opening minutes when denied by home keeper David Forde from point-blank range.

Nevertheless, the U’s looked decidedly less balanced after he went off injured early in the second half at Cambridge and weaker on the left flank, something that contributed to them conceding just after the hour and ultimately losing the game.

Colchester will be hoping Reid’s hip injury is not serious enough to keep him out of their home game against Crawley Town, this weekend.

Great support

There were not too many positives to come out of Colchester United’s defeat at Cambridge United – but their excellent support was certainly one of them.

Nearly 800 supporters made the relatively short trip up the M11 to the Abbey Stadium and did their best to lift their side and get behind the U’s players.

In the end, they trudged away downhearted, having witnessed another disappointing away performance.

Colchester’s fans deserve more from their side than they saw at Cambridge, as boss John McGreal acknowledged afterwards.

“They’re turning up week after week away from home and we’re not giving them what they’re looking for, at the minute,” he said. “We’ll keep going and try and change that for them.”

Back-to-back home wins against Crawley Town and Chesterfield in the next ten days would go some way to doing just that, ahead of the trip to Cheltenham Town on September 16.