EVEN though it's been a shorter closed season than normal, it still feels good to be able to say competitive EFL football is back - and what an opening day fixture it was for Colchester United in the end.

I will admit that in the run up to Saturday, I wasn't feeling anywhere as near optimistic as I was after the Millwall game with our pre-season having taken a bit of a dip with draws against non-league opposition, in both cases coming from behind to do so.

That, coupled with the injury list which seemed to be growing before a ball was kicked in anger, didn't seem to bode well.

So it was with a certain amount of dread that we awaited on the first U's starting XI of the season for the Northampton Town curtain-raiser.

But other than Huws and Smith missing, there were no other noticeable absentees.

This, coupled with the boost that Tom Dallison was finally in the squad, did raise the hopes that maybe the game would go better than first feared.

With the sounding of the officials' whistle, the 2022-23 season was up and running.

The U’s were cheered on by a good away following who upheld their end of the bargain to cheer the lads on through thick and thin.

Sadly on the pitch, for a time, things were not really going as I'm sure Wayne Brown and the lads had planned it.

With 27 minutes gone, we were 1-0 down in a game where we seemed second best.


Was this the start of a very long season or just an early stall in the forward movement of the juggernaut that Colchester United will turn into?

Who knows but to be fair from the point we equalised, went behind and responded to bring the game level again, it was an encounter that had some green shoots and positivity.

The fight was there to see and even going behind for a second time did not put out the fire of determination and the lads fought to get themselves back on level terms.

Credit to big Frank Nouble, who did all the hard work in the lead up to the second goal.

I was the first to say he had not had the best of pre-seasons and I wondered where he would fit into the squad and what he would bring to the party.

But if that hold up play and run was anything to go by, then I'll clearly be eating my words on that front very shortly.


All in all, I felt that heading towards the final whistle that a draw was a fair result and showed good foundations that we could build on.

But it was not to be and Northampton managed to get the all-important third goal and get their season off to a victorious start.

We were left to wonder how we came away empty handed but even in defeat, there was an air of optimism in the minds of the away faithful; that with a bit more time and maybe a signing or two, this season could be one of hope and success.

What will be important now is that we go forwards and not backwards, this week, ready for the first home game of the season against Carlisle United and show the home fans just what we can do.

This will not only set us off on the right foot with the first win, but more importantly, we must ensure we have a situation where teams will ultimately fear coming to play us.

Successful teams are those who win at home and do not lose on their travels.

While I know it's early days and this maybe very wishful thinking, but let’s all get back behind the lads and do all we can to make it so. Up the U’s.