Five talking points from Colchester United defeat at Swindon Town

Out of character

COLCHESTER United would not be challenging for a play-off place with two months of the League Two season to go if they regularly made the kind of mistakes they made at Swindon Town.

The U’s have only conceded three or more goals in a single league match on five other occasions this season, so their performance and defeat at the County Ground was very much out of character.

Prior to taking the lead, Swindon had not really been in the game and in reality, it took something from Colchester’s own doing to allow them a foothold in the game.

U’s head coach John McGreal will be hoping that the error-ridden display against the Robins was very much a one-off occurrence, ahead of two vital back-to-back home fixtures.

Telling absence

GIVEN they were without a large chunk of their firepower, it is perhaps no surprise that Colchester United drew a blank for the first time since New Year’s Day.

The absence of leading scorer Sammie Szmodics, who has netted 11 times this season and Harry Pell, who has scored seven goals from midfield, robbed them of some of their goal threat.

And with second-highest scorer Luke Norris (eight goals) only on the bench, the U’s were without three players in their starting line-up who have contributed 26 goals between them.

Saying that, Colchester still had plenty of attacking threat against the Robins.

The likes of Frank Nouble, Mikael Mandron, Courtney Senior and Brennan Dickenson all started, so it was disappointing to say the least to see them fail to score.

A sinking feeling

COLCHESTER United fans could be forgiven for having a sinking feeling when they saw their side fall behind at Swindon Town.

The U’s have not managed to come from behind and win in the league all season.

Indeed, the last time Colchester recovered from a losing position to claim victory came back in December, 2017 – ironically, when they won 3-2 at Swindon.

Loan interest

THE addition of loanees Abo Eisa and Callum Roberts in the January transfer window has definitely given everyone at Colchester United a boost, over the last few weeks.

But Swindon Town showed that they too have players with them on a temporary basis who can also cut make an impact.

All three of their goalscorers – Kyle Bennett (Bristol Rovers), Luke Woolfenden (Ipswich Town) and Canice Carroll (Brentford) - in their 3-0 win over the U’s were loan signings.

And another of their loanees, Theo Robinson of Colchester’s rivals Southend United, was arguably the best player on the pitch.

Uphill battle

THE sight of Tom Eastman climbing halfway up the huge Don Rogers stand at the County Ground during the second half of Colchester United’s defeat at Swindon Town pretty much summed up the U’s miserable afternoon.

Eager to get proceedings going again with the visitors desperate to get back into the game, the defender had gone in search of a ball rather unsportingly booted away by Robins striker, Theo Robinson.

Predictably, the ball came back from the Swindon fans just as Eastman returned to the pitch, along with a second football kicked by the fourth official on the opposite side of the pitch, much to the hilarity of the home supporters.

Eastman’s fruitless climbing proved something of a metaphor for Colchester, at Swindon.

The defender made a good impression off the bench but it was not enough to help his side salvage something from the game.