D3D4 Correspondents give their match reports from the games they attended this weekend…

 

Lincoln City 0-0 Luton Town

This weekend I made my way to the beautiful city of Lincoln for last season’s National League Champions City’s League 2 clash with promotion favourites Luton Town.

The teams made their way on to the immaculate playing surface under the cheers of a bumper 9320 crowd, close to capacity with a good number (1200+) making their way from Bedfordshire.
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Both teams looked to attack at every opportunity at the start of the game with the contrasting styles of the teams making interesting viewing with Lincoln’s up & at them direct style of play polar opposite of Luton’s more measured passing game.

The first chance of any note came from a firm drive by Luton striker Danny Hylton which was well saved by Imps keeper Paul Farman. As the half wore on it was Lincoln that were doing most of the pressing but the nearest they came to scoring was a thumping 30 yard effort from midfielder Billy Knott which whistled just wide.

Luton began the second half on the front foot & came very close to opening the scoring after a mistake from Lincoln defender Shaun Raggett let in Hylton but as he took the ball around keeper Farman he was crowded out by a combination of goalline blocks from Raggett & fellow Imp Bostwick. Lincoln countered & were denied with two fine saves by Keeper Marek Stech, brilliantly keeping out a Nathan Arnold close range effort & a Luke Waterfall header from the resulting corner.

The game was interrupted by a clash of heads involving Lincoln’s Matt Rhead & Luton defender Scott Cuthbert but both were allowed to continue after treatment. The delay seemed to interrupt the flow of the game somewhat with the only action of any note was the cynical hacking down of Lincoln midfielder Nathan Arnold by Luton substitute Jordan Cook which only warranted a yellow card which annoyed the Lincoln fans who were baying for a sending off which was probably warranted.

A thoroughly entertaining game especially for a 0-0 draw with just about the right result. I think both these clubs will be amongst the higher reaches of the table at the end of the season.

words Ian Bradley, D3D4 Rotherham United Correspondent

 

Chesterfield 0-0 Coventry City

How can I sum up the Sky Blues at the moment ? Plenty of effort but nothing to show for it. Or just a team full of average players who are at their level of football ? As is their want so far this season it’s plenty of huffing and puffing but no real quality, creating chances in most games but through poor finishing failing to find the net. And that was the case on Saturday as the City came away with a point from the home of the Spirites but should have picked up all three, as our goal shy “strikers” failed to tuck away two clear cut chances.

 

Robins no doubt will have enjoyed the clean sheet coming seven days after conceding two sloppy goals at Yeovil last Saturday. But if we’re serious at getting out of this division, we do need to start winning some games even if we’re still just five games in to the season. Jodi Jones who banged in a superb hat-trick on the opening day of the campaign,has gone goal shy not helped I guess with defenders now doubling up on him.

 

But that’s when other players need to step up to the plate and bang in some goals themselves, even midfielders or defenders do need to have a “pop” now and then and hope one goes in.

 

I’ve already come to the conclusion that this is going to be a long hard season, and I’ve laughed off the bookies pre season prediction of Coventry City to be champions of League One.

 

(My sides are hurting through laughing so much) On our local radio phone in on Saturday Sky Blue fans were all nearly going for a mid table position this campaign, with a couple even going for relegation. It is far too early as we all know to make rational predictions, things can change pretty quickly in football.

 

But the City do need to start winning some games and go on a run to build up some confidence, as winning can become infectious, then again so can losing !

 

We’ve got two home games coming up at the Ricoh starting with the visit of Port Vale on Saturday, and then a Tuesday night fixture against Carlisle United. I would have said weeks ago that’s a nice six points in the bag for the Sky Blues, but now I’m not so cocky and would be happy with a win and a draw to be honest. But that’s Coventry City for you they mess with your head and they like to keep us fans on our toes, they like to build us up and then pull the rug from under our feet.

 

As my mate said to me the other day there’s never a dull moment following Cov City is there ? Let me quote the great William Shakespeare that renowned football writer who when asked how he rated the Sky Blues chances this season wrote:

” I predict a winter of discontent for Coventry City, and they must stop the Comedy Of Errors home and away.”

 

I couldn’t have put it better myself !

words Kevin Halls, D3D4 Coventry City Correspondent

 

MK Dons 1-1 Oxford United

Last weeks game against Blackburn Rovers provided an enormous contrast both on and off the pitch.

Blackburn; Founded in 1875, Champions in all four tiers of the Football League and six times FA Cup winners.

The Dons; Formed by Caesarean section in 2004 courtesy of one Mr. R Turpin, League 2 winners and League Trophy winner in 2008 and well…apart from a severe dose of altitude sickness (2016) nothing else of note.

One consequence of the above is that whilst supporters of teams like Blackburn are well versed in the adage “Football is 15% Optimism, 5% ecstasy and 80% despair” a significant number of Dons fans still haven’t realised that for the sake of his or her long term sanity it is highly advisable for any football supporter to take out full membership of the “You’re rubbish but we love you” club as soon as possible.

The resulting 4-1 thumping only emphasised this fact and already “How long can Nielson last” threads are regularly popping up on Dons message boards.

The first twenty minutes or so of today’s game only went to reinforce that blinkered view with Oxford (who look a well drilled and organised team) threatening to run up a cricket score against a disorganised MK side that once again had (despite it being National Red Head Day) left skipper Dean Lewington collecting splinters on the bench.

Rob Hall, who departed Stadium MK under a dark cloud, scored a beauty and only a string of smart saves from keeper Lee Nicholls kept his side in the game.

Things went from bad to worse for the Dons as Ethan Ebanks-Landell limped off on the half hour mark but after some astute tinkering from Mr (How long can he last) Nielson the Dons slowly started to edge back into the game.

Just as in the previous home match the second half produced a much improved performance with substitute Callum Brittain not only scoring a fine goal but also finding time to make a couple of last ditch tackles. The second of these, a goal line clearance after Oxford sub Van Kessel had knocked the ball past goalie Nicholls was particularly impressive and helped the young lad quite deservedly earn his MOM award.

All in all then a fair result. New boy Alex Gilby was outstanding (Thanks very much Wigan Athletic for your generous gift) whilst for Oxford Henry and Payne stood out and Williamson showed that he had clearly played at a higher level.

Fair play to the United supporters. Bringing close on 3,000 was a really good effort. Their side are a much better outfit that they were this time last year and will almost certainly be there or there abouts at the end of the season.

For MK it’s all about progression but with deadline day done and dusted they showed enough to suggest that by May time they will be well on the right side of that 80% despair line.

Next two games; Plymouth and Peterborough away. No problem. Onwards and upward I say!

What’s that about 15% Optimism?   You cannot as they say be serious.

words Ian Morley, D3D4 MK Dons Correspondent

 

Cambridge United 1-0 Colchester United

A second half strike from Uche Ikpeazu was enough to give Cambridge their second win of the 2017/18 season, and their first on home soil, triumphing over East Anglian rivals Colchester, who were brought back down to Earth after their thrashing of Forest Green the previous week. It was a fitting end to a productive week for Shaun Derry’s side, after impressive performances against Morecambe in the league, and Northampton in the controversial Checkatrade trophy in mid-week. It was also a second league outing for the home side’s new look ‘diamond formation’, with Jevani Brown providing the creativity behind a pair of strikers, spearheaded by the aforementioned Ikpeazu.

It was in fact Colchester who made much of the early running in the first half, with a golden opportunity to break the deadlock falling to well-travelled wide man Kyel Reid, who saw his effort rushed down and saved by David Forde, who will have been pleased with the way he closed the angle down, following good work by Sammie Szmodics in the area. The away side again went close to finding the game’s opening goal, after Sean Murray won the ball in a dangerous position, and then fired a shot in, which was deflected just wide of the post with Forde wrong-footed and well beaten.

From the point of view of the home side, the highlight of the first half would’ve, again, been the performance of Jevani Brown, who continues to impress the home crowd with his intelligence, creativity and energy. Brown, a summer signing from St Neots, saw a shot saved in the first half, with the main other chance falling to Ade Azeez, whose late header was put wide.

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Match winner Ikpeazu
photo © Mike Egerton/Getty Images

The tables were turned after the break, though, and it was the home side who were applying the pressure. A deep Medy Elito free-kick delivery was sent across the face of goal by Leon Legge, which caused chaos in the six-yard box, and was eventually cleared before a Cambridge player could apply the finishing touch, but despite this, it signalled the home side’s intent. Set pieces continued to cause problems for Colchester, as Jevani Brown’s corner was palmed away well by ‘keeper Walker, under pressure from centre back pairing Legge and Greg Taylor.

From open play, the combination of Brown, Ikpeazu and substitute Jabo Ibehre caused the Colchester rear-guard no end of problems, with Ikpeazu seeing a well struck shot from the edge of the area. This should have acted as a warning to the away side, but in the 64th minute, Ibehre and Ikpeazu combined again, with the former finding the latter unmarked in the box with a clever pass, and Ikpeazu managed to get the ball onto his left foot, before firing his effort past Walker into the far corner. This lifted the roof off three sides of the Abbey Stadium, with the home team celebrating in the dug-out with manager Shaun Derry, who Ikpeazu later claimed was a “psychic”, having predicted that the colossal front man would score the winner during a conversation at half-time.

Cambridge’s best chance of extending their lead, unsurprisingly, came through Jevani Brown, whose curling effort from the edge of the 18-yard box was acrobatically turned round the post by Walker at the last minute, with the shot looking destined for the top corner.

The remainder of the game, though, became a case of the home side holding onto what they had got, with excellent chances falling to Mikael Mandron, who could only slide a shot past the post, and then late in the game to Kyel Reid, who headed wide despite having seemingly all the time in the world, and the freedom of the Cambridge area who find the target. Cambridge held on, though, to the delight of the home fans, who will surely be feeling much more upbeat about their side’s prospects than they perhaps would’ve been just a week before, but as proved so many times over the years, a week can be a long time in football.

words Tom Walker, D3D4 Cambridge United Correspondent

 

Cambridge United 1-0 Colchester United

As ‘The U’s’ derby kicked off (I’ve named it so as both teams’ nicknames are The U’s), one would forgive Cambridge fans for having a little more confidence than their East Anglian rivals. Despite an equally uninspiring start to the season, Cambridge had the historically statistical edge. Colchester had only won once at the Cambs Glass Stadium (equally catchy name as Colchester’s stadium) in 30 years. Nevertheless, both teams had only amassed 4 points each and were waiting eagerly for their respective seasons to start.

So, Saturday’s game was anybody’s.

Frustratingly, as it turned out, the match was a classic game of two halves concluding with an unsurprising result considering Col U’s dismal 2017 away form. Cambridge attacker Uche Ikpeazu rifled the ball devastatingly into the bottom corner of the net on 64 minutes. The greatest disappointment of the win and goal for the Essex team, perhaps, was that they were both celebrated by three former Colchester fellows. Former manager Joe Dunne (now Cambridge Assistant), academy graduate Medy Elito and the infamous Jabo Ibehre (who, as it turns out, set up the winning goal a few minutes after coming on as a substitute) were all celebrating for the wrong U’s come 5 o’ clock on Saturday.

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Fan favourite Sammie Szmodics

The first half was Colchester’s with the Essex side creating the most notable chances – although even they were few. Mind you, The (Essex) U’s started the game all guns blazing. Within the first few minutes, midfielder Tom Lapslie forced Cambridge keeper Forde into action as his through ball was nearly latched upon by Sammie Szmodics before the ball was smothered. Then, Kyel Reid’s shot was blocked away from point blank range by the Cambridge keeper. However, the best of Col U’s chances was midfielder Sean Murray’s deflected shot that agonisingly slipped the wrong side of the post.

The second half started in much the same way the first started. Only this time it was the other U’s on the front foot. Cambridge went into half-time with the wind in their sails and they came out all hands on deck to get that crucial goal. Eventually, the home side’s pressure was too much for Colchester and after a number of chances and fine saves from Sam Walker, Ikpeazu got his goal and Cambridge the game.

United did have two decent chances to equalise (indeed, U’s manager McGreal reckons they deserved a draw). But both chances from Mikael Mandron and new signing Sanmi Odelusi ended up wide of the target.

In the end, it’s not a surprising result considering Colchester’s away form – not only at Cambridge – but in 2017. The Essex side have only won one away game all year and with five new players hurriedly brought in this week (one of them injured…), they had better get used to each other, and the rest of the team, quick or that poor away form will only be set to continue.

Line Ups

Cambridge: 1 Forde, 2 Halliday, 6 Legge, 5 Taylor, 11 Dunk, 4 Deegan, 18 Maris (sub – Carroll 77′), 21 Elito (Sub – Mingoia 60′), 20 Brown, 10 Azeez (sub Ibehre 60′), 9 Ikpeazu. Subs: 3 Carroll, 7 Mingoia, 12 Taft, 13 Mitov, 14 Ibehre, 15 Osadebe, 16 O’Neil

Colchester: 1 Walker, 22 Vincent-Young, 18 Eastman, 6 Kent, 3 Kinsella (sub Jackson 45′), 16 Murray, 4 Lapslie, 17 Reid (sub Odelusi 53′), 7 Wright (James 71′), 19 Mandron, 10 Szmodics. Subs: 2 Jackson, 14 Comley, 15 Kabamba, 27 Odelusi, 29 Gilmartin, 31 Issa, 35 James.

Referee: Nick Kinsley. Attendance: 4,511

Words by Piers Palmer D3D4 Colchester United Correspondent Twitter: @Piers_Palmer Email: piers.palmer93@gmail.com

 

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