FOR too long, Colchester United have been perceived as a bit of a soft touch, as a side that is pretty easy to play against.

Despite the U’s struggles in League Two over recent seasons, there have been plenty of well-meaning complimentary words made by opposition clubs but often with the underlying feeling that they are a ‘nice’ team, their respective league finishes perhaps the biggest reflection of their all-round vulnerability.

However, Colchester’s gritty performance at League Two leaders Mansfield Town offered evidence that the tag could now be shaken off.

READ MORE: Danny Cowley takes Mansfield boos as 'big compliment'

Danny Cowley described his side’s performance at the One Call Stadium as ‘streetwise’ and the U’s head coach took pride in the way his team successfully frustrated their free-scoring hosts, who had smashed nine past play-off chasing Harrogate Town at the venue not so long ago.

“Maybe in the past, people would consider Colchester United as a nice club, nice facilities, nice players but we want to win,” he said, after seeing his side claim a well-deserved point.

Did Colchester’s players attempt to slow down the clock in a bid to secure a precious point? Probably, yes.

Did they try to frustrate their hosts by breaking up the game and stifling Mansfield’s rhythm? Probably, yes again.

But honestly, who can blame them, given their current predicament?


Too often over recent years, the U’s have been naïve in matches and, if truth be told, at times a little bit of a soft touch.

The Cowleys have quickly changed that mentality, on the evidence of Colchester’s last few performances.

Indeed, the boos that ran out from Mansfield’s home fans towards the U’s management duo and their team will have no doubt been music to Danny and Nicky’s ears, at the final whistle.

The Colchester team that started against the Stags was formed with a spine of experienced players who know what it takes to grind out results.

READ MORE: How Colchester United players fared in Mansfield Town draw

The likes of Tom Dallison, Cameron McGeehan, Alistair Smith and Tom Hopper brought all of their battling traits to the fore, helping to grind out what could prove to be a precious point.

Needless to say, Colchester will need to show similar characteristics in the overall game in their remaining nine fixtures, if they are to achieve their objective of staying in the Football League.

Gazette: Danny Cowley

The result and performance at Mansfield should offer them hope and encouragement for the task ahead but there are still some tough tests on the immediate horizon including their next match, a home clash with Newport County who have proved difficult opponents for the U’s, over recent seasons.

Nevertheless, the U’s can take heart from their resourceful display at the weekend, which offered evidence that they really are up for the fight.