COLCHESTER United were thrashed 4-0 by West Ham United under-21s in their Bristol Street Motors Trophy Round of 32 clash, on Tuesday night.

It was the U's fourth defeat in five matches and their third straight loss, in all competitions.

A night to forget

IT was a night to forget for Colchester United against their West Ham United under-21 opponents, who in contrast looked slick and confident.

In the Bristol Street Motors Trophy, the Hammers' youngsters cruised to victory while the U's struggled to get out of first gear.

As Matty Etherington suggested in his post-match press conference after the rather humbling 4-0 home defeat, his U’s side are struggling with the finer details of the game at the moment.

READ MORE: Matty Etherington's verdict on Colchester's defeat to West Ham U21

They are conceding too many soft goals, where the opposition do not have to work hard to score and at the other end, lack a clinical edge having managed just four goals in their last six games, in all competitions.

That has inevitably shown in the U’s results and four defeats in five has unsurprisingly resulted in a lack of belief, all over the pitch.

Etherington must find a way of regaining that confidence and Colchester need to first get the basics right, before they look any further than that.

Confidence lacking

COLCHESTER United boss Matty Etherington made six changes to his starting line-up for their Bristol Street Motors Trophy game against West Ham United under-21s – but the same defensive worries remain.


The U’s look short of confidence all over the pitch at the moment but particularly at the back, which is hardly surprising given they have conceded 11 goals in their last three games.

West Ham’s youngsters were, as expected, bright and inventive in attack but they were given far too much time, room and space to score the goals that they did.

In contrast, Colchester struggled to penetrate the Hammers’ rearguard, with their goalkeeper Joseph Anang hardly tested by the hosts.

Jay impresses

TO say that Matt Jay has had to wait patiently for his opportunities this season is something of an understatement.

READ MORE: U's run the rule over former Spurs and Huddersfield youngster

But the former Exeter City attacker did not do his cause any harm whatsoever with his display against West Ham United under-21s on his first start since September 19.

He looked hungry and eager to be on the ball and on several occasions picked out the run of team-mates with the kind of precision and awareness Exeter fans had become accustomed to, during his long spell there.

Time will tell whether or not Jay has done enough to force his way into Matty Etherington’s thinking for this weekend’s home clash with Crawley Town.

But the warm applause he received from home fans after being substituted late on against West Ham’s youngsters was acknowledgement of his encouraging display.


Late vulnerability

DESPITE not being at their best, Colchester were still in the game against West Ham under-21s until late on.

The Hammers scored twice in the closing stages, sadly a familiar feeling for the U’s at the JobServe Community Stadium over recent games.

In their last six home games, Colchester have conceded a total of seven goals in the 75th minute or later and seem particularly vulnerable in the final minutes of games.

READ MORE: Match report as Colchester are thrashed by West Ham youngsters

It is not the first time in recent home matches that the U’s have looked susceptible late on and West Ham might have had more than their four goals, by the end.

Welcome return

JOHN Akinde’s first senior game for Colchester for two and a half months was a rare chink of light on an otherwise gloomy evening for the U’s.

The 34-year-old’s appearance off the bench for the final half hour of the game was a welcome sight, given he has not played since mid-September, due to injury.


Akinde undoubtedly offers something different to the U’s attack.

The striker’s physicality and strength is a real challenge for opposition defenders to deal with.

Might Matty Etherington be tempted to start Akinde in Colchester’s home meeting with Crawley Town, this weekend?

The U’s boss might opt to give Akinde an hour from the start, hoping his impact by then will have help inspire his side claim a much-needed win.