THEY say experience is the best teacher.

Colchester United’s game against an effective Newport County side was the perfect illustration of the inconsistency of youth - and the value of experience.

Three days earlier, the likes of Sylvester Jasper and Armando Dobra were rightly lauded for their excellent display against Exeter City, where they had a big influence on the final result.

The duo have both made their mark in the opening three months of the season with some wonderful moments of skill.

Unfortunately, they did not have quite as much of an impact against Newport; the duo were both replaced in the second half having been well shackled by a well-drilled Exiles team.

There is no doubting their talent but as they take their first steps in the professional game away from their respective parent clubs, one of their biggest challenges will be to reproduce the kind of match-winning form they have shown at times this season on a regular basis, during the course of the season.

Colchester had four loanees in their starting line-up against Newport, all of them 22 or under.

The very nature of their loan moves to the U’s is for them to gain experience in competitive football and with that will naturally come some ups and downs.

But over previous years, Colchester have not neccessarily been able to turn to such experience to help them out of sticky situations in games.

"It's a big learning curve for them; they're on loan and trying to replicate performances and if you can be consistent most weeks, you'll play,” said U’s head coach Hayden Mullins.

"They'll learn that but they're good players for us and they were a big part of our win against Exeter.”


With that in mind, it was somewhat ironic that two of Colchester’s more experienced players should combine for their equaliser against Newport.

Alan Judge, with 425 career games under his belt as a professional, came off the bench to provide the killer pass for Freddie Sears (443 career games) to score a superbly-taken equaliser.

Colchester’s recruitment team will no doubt point to that moment as one of the main reasons they generally went for experience over youth, in the summer window.

Indeed, Cole Skuse, Luke Chambers and Tommy Smith, three of the squad's more senior players, all shone against Newport.

The key for the U’s this season is how they combine the two and over recent weeks, their performances and results have shown that that is starting to happen.

Colchester have just taken four points from a possible six against two promotion-chasing teams.

They battled back well to claim a point against a well-drilled Newport side and four goals in their last two games is perhaps evidence that the U’s are becoming more clinical.

Four goals from four shots on target suggests that might well be the case, although it is certainly not the finished product yet.

Sears is on an encouraging scoring run – it is now five goals in seven matches for the former West Ham United youngster and the likes of Jasper and Dobra are supporting him well.

At the other end, goalkeeper Jake Turner has come into the team for the injured Shamal George and has excelled; in front of him, Tommy Smith and Luke Chambers have both impressed, in the last couple of games.

Colchester now take another break from league action, with two knockout cup games to get their teeth into.

After the trip to League Two rivals Swindon Town in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night, they host League One promotion-chasers Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup next Sunday.

It is one defeat in six now for Colchester and they are now building some momentum, ahead of what will be a busy December for Hayden Mullins’ side.