THE toughest defeats to take are those that involve fine margins.

When you know that with so much on the line, with a real opportunity of promotion, you find yourselves falling short.

Sadly, over the two legs against Exeter City, with a Wembley shoot out begging, the U’s just missed the chance and came out second best.

The wave of disappointment from Monday still surrounds the U’s fans, and whilst a barren Wembley Stadium may not have been the most memorable of finales, when you know how close the U’s were, it is still gutting.

It was not for want of trying, though. Our football club had to work their socks off and fork out significant sums of money just to get the two games on. It would be good not to forget that. A gamble that simply could not be refused.

Four players, not knowing of their next job in football, put that job on the line by agreeing to help the team, putting their bodies in harm’s way.

I am predominantly thinking of our skipper Luke Prosser, his battle with Bowman and way that he threw himself in front of a shot late in the game on Monday.

Appreciating that it was the same for both teams, our players did all that they could to overcome the rustiness of a three-month lay-off.

Many of them stood out for me, and whilst a few others worked as hard as they could, I do feel that if they were all at their level best in terms of match fitness then our team would have easily been more than a match for Exeter, and certainly decent favourites against Northampton in the final.

Personally, I am loathed to point fingers at individual mistakes and misjudgements over the two games.

Football is a matter of opinions and mine will differ from yours. A few things are certain though.

Cohen Bramall is an exciting prospect, lightening quick over the grass and utterly proficient with a dead ball.

The U’s will badly miss Prosser, Nouble, Jackson, and the goals of Theo Robinson. The former three, unless something amazing happens and we see them in a U’s shirt again, have been outstanding players for us over many games and will not be forgotten.

For my other certainty, and although but for their keeper he could have won us the game late on, the young Kwame Poku has a big second season ahead of him.

Perhaps a little raw still but very talented, let’s hope he continues to do more of the top stuff he did against Exeter and others last season.

Overall, to make the play-offs, to overcome both Palace and Spurs, not reserve teams I hasten to add, and then to thwart Manchester United for 45 minutes at Old Trafford, I think it is fair to say that last season was a very good one. Promotion would have been the royal icing on the cake.

I feel sorry for the supporters who were also so desperate to make League One.

The U’s has some incredible fans who have given so much in terms of time and money, and I know it is greatly appreciated by the football club.

With more of your commitment and help then next season can be ours for the taking.

How that new season will look, which clubs will barely survive, and when will we be allowed back in the stadium to support them properly, is yet to be known, but it is already clear that football behind closed doors is really rubbish, so let’s hope that it’s very soon.

In the meantime, thank you so much for all of your support of the U’s and please stay safe and secure until all of this is over.

Up the U’s!

Jon Burns, Colchester United Supporters Association chairman