Sam’s safe hands

While Courtney Senior’s second goal in his last three appearances was the moment that put the U’s ahead at half-time at Brunton Park, there was another that perhaps eclipsed it as being worthy of mention.

Sam Walker’s stop from Cole Stockton’s header midway through the half was breath-taking – there can be no other way to describe it.

It was a well-placed firm header from four yards out and Sam somehow reacted to it by leaping to his right and palming the ball away.

It would be glib to draw comparisons with Gordon Banks’ 1970 World Cup save from Pele’s header, but Sam’s stop was right out of the top drawer.

It wasn’t just keeping the ball out of the goal; in the context of the match, it was crucial as Colchester’s counter-attacking game plan meant falling behind would have been a huge blow.

While it’s his job to do it, it was a moment of magic by the big U’s stopper and one any Colchester keeper through the club’s history would have been proud of.

Kurtis Guthrie’s injury

The 55th minute of their game at Carlisle United saw a debut Colchester United appearance for Doncaster Rovers loanee Liam Mandeville.

But while it was good to get a first proper look at what he was capable of, it was the exit of Kurtis Guthrie to make way for the new man that may have been more of a talking point for the U’s.

Guthrie’s injury problems that have seen him sidelined for much of the campaign to date have been well documented and one can only hope his latest knock isn’t one that keeps him out again.

He got caught in a challenge a few minutes earlier and tried to play on, but went down and the sight of him limping off supported by U’s physio Tony Flynn wasn’t a good one.

Everyone at Colchester will be keeping everything crossed that it’s not a serious problem.

Chances created

The overwhelming reaction of Colchester’s players and staff after their trip to Carlisle was one of frustration.

They knew that they created more than enough to have won that game and could have been well clear by the time Jamie Devitt stepped forward with a wonderful free-kick that earned the hosts a point.

U’s head coach John McGreal said it would be good to see his team put someone to the sword and they had the chance to do that to Carlisle.

But the fact that they didn’t shouldn’t detract from a good performance.

If they can keep the attacking flair that they had at Brunton Park in forthcoming games then someone will feel the full effect and, who knows, a well-timed big win could be a springboard for a happy end to the season.

Senior moment

Colchester United are fast building a reputation in the game as a club who are not afraid to give young players opportunities.

So it’s always nice to see one take theirs with both hands and that’s exactly what Courtney Senior appears to be doing at the moment.

His second goal in three games should be commended, but it was the way that he took it at Carlisle that was worthy of further mention.

Kurtis Guthrie had raced clear and forced Cumbrians keeper Jack Bonham into a fine save, but Senior showed great maturity to keep his head under pressure and steer the ball into the net.

It’s always good to see a young player flourish and this is one whose reputation will surely grow if he can stay on the path he’s got himself on.

The long road

Being a committed football fan who supports their team away as well as at home takes time, patience and money – in no particular order.

Every fan enjoys a good away day, but it’s a rarer breed who will be prepared to make a 650-mile round trip from one end of the country to the other to cheer on their side.

Time, patience and money were all required in abundance to head up to Carlisle and the 144 U’s fans – most of whom would have come up from Essex – deserve to be applauded.

That’s why it was heartening to see the U’s players make a point of coming over at the final whistle to register their thanks.

That goes a long way for the faithful who made the trip and even though they didn’t see their side get the win they perhaps deserved, it was a gesture that would have made the long journey home a bit easier.