Another game, another 1-0 win, although Padraig Amond’s late winner at Carlisle did justice to a performance where City were superior throughout. As a result City are in a position where a strong Easter could all but clinch promotion back to the third tier ten years after leaving it, however to do that Matt Taylor will want to register wins against two of the four sides that won in the reverse fixtures. Selection headaches abound, with Taylor keen to keep his squad as fresh as possible ahead of a busy run in, although it may be that for a change Taylor may name an unchanged starting eleven.
It has been another frustrating season for Colchester – from playoff semi-finalists two seasons ago to successive battles against relegation. The recent appointment of former caretaker Wayne Brown as manager appears to have led to better form that has pulled the Us clear of danger in what is now looking like perm two from three to join doomed Scunthorpe in the non-league abyss. With that in mind, like Carlisle last week, City will be hoping that the relative safety could lead to less intensity from the visitors. Having signed anyone who had previously played for Ipswich in the summer, Colchester were busy again in January, signing the likes of Tom Dallison from Crawley and one-time City target John Akinde from Gillingham. In addition Owura Edwards’ loan at City was cut short for him to then move across to Essex on loan – scoring three times although he hasn’t featured in the last month. The main threat is likely to come from former West Ham forward Freddie Sears, who has 14 in all competitions, while one of the aforementioned ex-Ipswich players, Alan Judge, has plenty of experience at higher levels.
City were defending the longest unbeaten run in the country when they travelled across country in mid-November, but that run came to an end with a 3-1 drubbing – Colchester led 2-0 at half time through Jasper and Chilvers, Amond reduced the arrears but the points were sealed by Sears. On the other hand, almost a year to the day previously Colchester’s last visit to the Park saw City romp home 6-1, in truth the margin could even have been far wider – Jay (2), Randall and a Ryan Bowman hat-trick (from a combined distance of about eight yards) for City, Folivi scoring for Colchester. City have the upper hand in league head to heads with 31 wins to Colchester’s 26, 22 matches finishing level.
The match officials for this game will be:-
Referee Will Finnie
Assistant Refereess: Robert Dabbs and Richard Morris
Fourth Official : Alex James