Jon Waldron, who has been reporting on the U's for nearly 15 years, looks back at a memorable Colchester United game from the archives

IT'S not often that I use only three words in my opening paragraph when writing a Colchester United match report in the Gazette.

But this was no ordinary occasion.

Incredible. Unbelievable. Unforgettable. That was how I described the U's magnificent 7-1 win at Norwich City, on the opening day of the 2009-10 League One season.

In nearly 20 years in the industry, that sunny August day remains by the far the most remarkable of my sports journalism career.

It was simply surreal.

I reported for duty in the Carrow Road press room with a little apprehension.

After all Norwich, who had dropped down from the Championship the previous season, were firm favourites, against a Colchester side that had finished the last campaign in a mid-table spot in League One.

Clive Platt’s brace, along with Kevin Lisbie’s double and David Fox’s strike, sent U’s fans into dreamland after they raced into an astonishing 5-0 lead within 38 minutes in their curtain-raiser.

And although Cody McDonald pulled a goal back for the shell-shocked Canaries with 18 minutes left, strikes from David Perkins and Scott Vernon sealed Paul Lambert’s side an unforgettable 7-1 triumph in Norfolk, a result that sent shockwaves throughout the whole of English football.

It remains to this day Colchester’s biggest-ever league away win and for the U’s contingent in the crowd of 25,217, it was the most surreal of experiences.

“It’s the best I’ve seen in years,” enthused Colchester boss Paul Lambert afterwards. “I thought we were sensational. Winning 7-1 was a phenomenal performance. I wasn’t going to come here and sit back. Our performance was absolutely unbelievable.”

The U’s, embarking on their second season back in the third tier following their relegation from the Championship in 2008, went into the game as big underdogs against a Norwich side hotly-tipped for promotion at the first time of asking.

But the Canaries supporters were already heading for the exits by the time Lisbie had added a fifth goal for the U’s, seven minutes before the break.

Colchester went on to extend their advantage before the end and at one point, it all got too much for two Norwich fans who ran onto the pitch and threw their season tickets at home manager Bryan Gunn, before being ejected.

After the final whistle, it was a case of digesting everything that had just happened.

There were stunned expressions, everywhere you looked.

I recall glancing up at the directors box and spotting U's chairman Robbie Cowling punching the air in delight.

I also remember interviewing an ecstatic Platt pitchside, minutes after the final whistle.

"This is one of the biggest wins of my career, without doubt," the striker told me after his magnificent performance, which I described in the Gazette as 'simply excellent'.

"We wanted to come to Norwich and win and we got the job done."

Platt's - and the U’s - joy was pretty short-lived, though. Their huge win ultimately led to Lambert quitting as their manager ten days later – ironically to take over at Norwich.

Lambert returned to the Community Stadium later that season as Canaries boss and led his side to an emphatic 5-0 triumph over Aidy Boothroyd’s U’s side, in torrential conditions.

Norwich finished the season as League One champions while Colchester ended up in eighth spot, eight points off the play-off places.

Lisbie finished up as the U’s leading scorer, with 13 goals.

The Canaries probably had the last laugh then, that season.

But the memory of Colchester's emphatic opening-day triumph at Carrow Road is probably one that will stay with me forever.