Colchester United drew 1-1 with Macclesfield Town, at the Moss Rose.

Point taken

GIVEN the quality of their performances and results in their previous two games, Colchester United will probably be a little disappointed with only a point at Macclesfield Town.

But taking into account the fact that they trailed at half-time following a lacklustre first-half display, picking up a draw on their travels against a side fighting for their lives near the bottom of the League Two table was probably a satisfactory return.

Seven points from a possible nine is a pleasing return for John McGreal’s side over the last three games and puts them in a good position to secure at least a play-off place, with 13 games remaining.

The U’s home game next weekend against fellow promotion hopefuls Carlisle United is a significant one, given that only one point and one place currently separates the two clubs in the table.

On the spot

THE confident way in which Frank Nouble dispatched his penalty to earn a point for Colchester United in their 1-1 draw at Macclesfield Town backed up John McGreal’s decision to install him as his side’s regular penalty taker.

The U’s boss revealed in his post-match interview at the Moss Rose that Nouble would have taken the spot-kick, even if regular taker Harry Pell had been playing.

Pell, who missed the game at Macclesfield due to a hamstring injury, missed the last spot-kick Colchester were awarded at Northampton Town a fortnight ago and it seems as though Nouble has now been given the task of scoring from the spot.

System addict

ONE of the hallmarks of John McGreal’s time in charge of Colchester United has been his willingness to be flexible with formations, either before or during games.

The U’s boss is not afraid to change systems if it means his side are more productive and the game at Macclesfield Town was a classic example of that.

Things were clearly not working for Colchester in a 4-2-3-1 formation, mainly as they were unable to utilise their wide players against the well-organised hosts.

But a switch to 3-4-2-1 made a big difference; it enabled Kane Vincent-Young and Ryan Jackson to become more of an attacking threat as wing-backs and also brought the likes of Sammie Szmodics and Courtney Senior more into the game.

The Wright stuff

THE instant lift Colchester United have experienced from their three transfer window signings has been well documented.

But boss John McGreal has made a point of saying that his younger players can also still play their part, between now and the end of the season.

U’s academy youngster Diaz Wright was given another opportunity to impress for the first team at Macclesfield Town, following injuries to Harry Pell and Tom Lapslie and did not let anyone down, in the 40-odd minutes he was on the pitch.

Pitch battle

TO say that the unpredictable Moss Rose surface was not conducive for Colchester United’s passing game was something of an understatement.

The bobbly Macclesfield Town pitch made it difficult for both sides and having started looking to play out from the back, the hosts seemingly abandoned that tactic in favour of some more direct play.

It was certainly not the kind of game for U’s playmaker Ben Stevenson to shine.

His game is built around crisp passing and midfield creativity so the fact that the young midfielder played so well in spite of the conditions says much about his potential and talent.