COLCHESTER United’s 1-0 defeat at Exeter City meant they finished the League Two season in 13th position - 13 points off the play-off positions.

It was an unwanted baker's dozen and they will need to accumulate more rewards from their fellow challengers if they are to launch a more sustained promotion push, next time around.

The U's ended on the back of a five-match winless sequence, following a tough run-in.

John McGreal’s side played some of the division’s top teams in that period, some of them at the time still fighting for automatic promotion or play-off places.

It has not been an easy finish to the campaign but if the U’s are to challenge for promotion next season, they will need to improve their record against the leading teams.

They have won just four of the 14 games they played against the sides that have finished in the top seven, claiming a total of 13 out of the 42 points available in those fixtures.

In most of those games, Colchester have pushed their opponents and given them a stern test but have ultimately had little to show for their efforts, in terms of results.


COLCHESTER United’s 13th-place finish in League Two this season was their lowest league finish for 24 years.

When Roy McDonough’s side finished 17th in the old division three in the 1993-94 season, the U’s were still acclimatising to life in the Football League and boasted the likes of Mark Kinsella, Tony English and Nicky Smith in their squad.

Steve Ball was also a regular that season and the current U’s assistant manager will appreciate more than anyone how much the club has changed, since those days.

The facilities at Colchester are a world away from the Layer Road days of that time and Ball will be working hard alongside John McGreal to ensure that there is progression – rather than regression – in their third campaign at the helm.


COLCHESTER United ultimately paid the price for Sammie Szmodics’ missed penalty at Exeter City.

It came at a point when the game was delicately poised at 0-0 and proved crucial, after Robbie Simpson headed the Grecians’ winning goal 11 minutes later.

Colchester have been awarded seven penalties this season and have had four of them saved.

“We’ve consistently missed penalties this year,” bemoaned John McGreal, after seeing another spot-kick opportunity get away.

Short of running on the pitch and taking it himself, there’s little the U’s head coach could have done to have improved his side’s poor penalty conversion record, this season.

But their mixed record from 12 yards has certainly been detrimental at key times in games.


MOST of the 174 Colchester United supporters who travelled down to Devon will have heard an enthusiastic, loud voice bellowing out at St James Park a few yards to the right of the away end, throughout their side’s 1-0 defeat.

Exeter City director of football Steve Perryman has had a stellar career in the game, making a record 854 appearances for Tottenham Hotspur and managing the likes of Brentford and Watford prior to ending up at the Grecians, back in 2003.

After spending five wonderful decades in the game, he still kicks and heads every ball and is as passionate as ever about seeing Exeter do well.

Their game against Colchester was due to be Perryman’s final match at the club, before his retirement from football.

But they are now preparing for the play-offs and it would be hugely fitting if Wembley, where he lifted the FA Cup on two occasions for Spurs, should prove to be the final career destination for a man who lives and breathes football.


ANY hope of Colchester United sneaking a play-off place in League Two this season diminished a few weeks ago.

But that did not stop more than 170 of their fans making the 500-mile round trip down to Devon to watch the U’s, in their final game of the season.

Despite a decent second-half performance, they did not really have much to cheer about at a sun-baked St James Park.

Nevertheless, they still did their best to get behind the U’s throughout and the applause they received from John McGreal and his players after the match was richly deserved.