Five talking points from Colchester United defeat at Exeter City

Timing is everything

COLCHESTER United are currently going through their worst run of form of the season - at just the wrong time.

While the final 3-0 scoreline was somewhat harsh, their defeat at Exeter City means it is just one win in six matches for John McGreal’s men, with nine goals shipped in their last four games.

Crucially, goals have been conceded at key times.

And in each of their last three defeats, they have failed to recover after conceding at least once in the first half.

To fall behind just before the break at Exeter after an even first period - where the hosts had failed to register a single shot on target prior to scoring - proved pivotal and was a blow from which Colchester ultimately failed to recover.

A crisis of confidence

CONFIDENCE is always huge in football – and Colchester United are clearly lacking it at the moment.

Just like winning games breeds assurance and conviction, losing can have the opposite effect and cause anxiety and apprehension.

The U’s are a young team and it was somewhat inevitable that heads went down after conceding at Exeter City.

At times like that, experienced players such as Frank Nouble and Harry Pell are crucial and they were both missed at St James Park.

Pym's no tonic

COLCHESTER United must be sick of the sight of Christy Pym.

JUST as he had at the JobServe Community Stadium back in November, the Exeter City keeper played a blinder against the U's.

He was at his very best against the U’s, making a string of fine saves in the second half of the Grecians' 3-0 win, to help them preserve their clean sheet.

Had it not been for Pym’s heroics, Colchester would have found a route back into the game.

His fine stop to deny Sammie Szmodics in particular just after half-time proved vital and laid the platform for Exeter’s win.

Cruel luck

IT is surely no coincidence that Colchester United’s erratic form of late has come at a time when they are missing two key players from their side.

The absence of Harry Pell and Tom Lapslie – two of the first names on boss John McGreal’s teamsheet this season – has undoubtedly been detrimental over the last six matches, a sequence in which the U’s have only managed one win.

It is particularly cruel for Colchester that they are both out at the same time, especially as another central midfielder Brandon Comley is also currently sidelined with a knee injury.

The heart of the U’s midfield has been undoubtedly affected, particularly with Ben Stevenson still hampered by a groin problem.

Miller's rapid rise

TODD Miller’s appearance as a substitute in the closing stages of Colchester United’s defeat at Exeter City was the biggest positive of an otherwise disappointing day for the U’s.

In making his professional debut against the Grecians, at 16 years and 66 days old the winger became the youngest player to ever represent the club at senior level.

It was quite fitting that Miller should achieve the landmark at St James Park, where three and a half years earlier Ethan Ampadu had made his well-publicised senior debut - aged 15 years ten months and 26 days.

Indeed, with his long, flowing locks, Miller’s resemblance to Ampadu did not go unnoticed by the home fans.