Five talking points from Colchester United defeat at Crewe Alexandra

Contrasting halves

THE statistics show that if games lasted 45 minutes, Colchester United would be top of the pile in League Two.

Unfortunately, points are not handed out at half-time, which is one of the reasons why the U’s currently find themselves residing outside League Two’s play-off places.

Colchester’s 2-1 defeat at Crewe Alexandra was another example of them failing to follow up an impressive first-half showing after the break.

If all of the U’s games had ended at the interval, John McGreal’s side would have accumulated 55 points - nine more than the 46 they currently have.

Indeed, they have scored seven more goals in the first half of games than they have in the second period – and conceded 15 more after the break that they have in the opening 45 minutes of matches.

It seems as though opposition managers are picking up on this too, judging by victorious David Artell’s post-match comments after his side came from behind to beat Colchester.

“They (Colchester) have scored a lot of goals in first halves and at the break I told the players ‘we are still in this game’,” revealed the Crewe boss.

January blues

COLCHESTER United’s 2-1 defeat at Crewe Alexandra was the first time they have suffered back-to-back losses in League Two, this season.

John McGreal’s side have shown this season that they are capable of bouncing back from disappointments, so to suffer a second successive league reverse was a particularly disappointing on the back of a home defeat to Mansfield Town.

The U’s will certainly be glad to see the back of January.

A run of one win in seven, a run of form that has seen them drop out of the top seven, represents Colchester’s most challenging period of the season so far.

They can ill afford to allow the sequence to continue for much longer, if they are not to lose touch with the teams above them.

A bad joke

ONE wise-crack quipped on Saturday night that Colchester United have been prevented from owning a dog because they can’t hold on to a lead.

If it wasn’t so disappointing, it might be funny.

Just like against Mansfield Town seven days earlier, the U’s surrendered a first-half advantage to lose at Crewe Alexandra.

And just like against the Stags, they conceded goals from crosses into the box.

That will be a worry for John McGreal, whose side have generally been defensively competent this season.

“It gets a little bit raw when it happens twice in a week and we’ve shot ourselves in the foot,” admitted the U’s head coach.

McGreal will be looking for a big improvement in that area when Colchester travel to play Northampton Town, next Saturday.

Still tight at the top

COLCHESTER United’s defeat at Crewe Alexandra saw them drop out of the League Two play-off places.

But every side will experience their ups and downs, during the course of a campaign.

The key is for the U’s to not allow this disappointing run of form to become a wobble or even worse, a slump.

The good thing is that given the tightness of the league, a win at Northampton Town would get them right back in contention given that they are only a point outside the top seven.

With their next three games all against teams currently residing in the bottom eight of the table, it goes without saying that it is imperative they pick up points.

Last-minute activity?

IT could well prove to be an eventful week in the transfer market for Colchester United.

Alternatively, the deadline could come and go without a hint of any comings or goings, at Florence Park.

Sammie Szmodics’ excellent strike against Crewe Alexandra proved once again – if proof were needed – of his worth to the team.

To lose him in January would be a blow and given their results over recent weeks, the U’s could really do with arrivals rather than any departures before Thursday’s deadline.