Then Colchester United took over and dominated much of the rest of the first half. First blood was taken by Fagan who lobbed Neil Moss from distance, leaving Moss and the rest of the defence to see the ball bounce harmlessly in to the back of the net!! This just after 10 minutes!! Where was the defence? Why was Moss so far off his line so early? Colchester did try to lob Moss shortly afterwards, but nearly succeeded in lobbing the North Stand instead!
It didn't get much better 14 minutes later when Williams headed past Moss to see the ball nestle in the goal by the far post. Williams was gifted a free header. Again, where was the defence? Two attempts on target and two goals. At this point I was dreading the prospect of another Tranmere score line!
We did puch forward, but without conviction, or any real pattern. Hayter looked lost on the left (!), Dani looked at sea as well at times. As for Derek, he was proving to be less than deadly!! There seemed to be little we could do to stem the Colchester tide as they pushed forward, almost at ease. When we did get the ball, they surrounded the man with the ball with three of their players and stopped everything we had to offer. We didn't have the guile to overcome their tatics it seemed. Without an effective outlet down the right hand side (Elliott & Young), we were pre occupied with going down the middle, or the left. Something Colchester had no problem in working out for themselves.
Changes came at half-time when Browning came on for Holmes. It did make a difference, but not much to start with. On his debut, Spicer did hit the cross bar on 51 minutes. Unfortunately the fall fell to safety and a goal kick. There more Boruenmouth attempts towards goal, but as with the first half, we were mostly off target, and if we were on target, the attempt was easy for the keeper to deal with.
Alan Connell came on for Rodrigues just before the hour mark. Sure enough Connell was lively up front, and he did force what proved to be the consolation. Warren Cummings went on a trade mark run down the left wing, crossed the ball in low, the keeper left it for Stockley to take the ball over his own goal line with Connell in very close attendance. This on 74 minutes. Suddenly there was a glimmer of hope for the home side.
Any chance of a come back was snuffed out 5 minutes later when May netted the third goal for the visitors. Stockly made amends for his 'og' when his cross from the left was met with the slightest deflections of May's head which saw the ball head towards the far post and in! May could have secured his second goal of the game in injury time, but was thwarted by Moss and Broadhurst when it seemed easier to score!
All very disappointing this afternoon. The squad we fielded was a first team eleven, eveb if it wasn't an ideal starting eleven. Given the injuries and suspensions with so many players I doubt whether we could have started with a stronger squad. It seemed that the tactics were wrong for the team we were playing.
All credit to Colchester, their passing was much better, clinical, accurate than ours. We seemed to need an extra touch at times which allowed Colchester to get men to our man quickly and therefore severely restrict chances. I hope some of the missing return in time for Sheffield Wednesday.
AFCB: Moss, Broadhurst, Maher, Howe, Cummings, Stock, O'Connor, Spicer, Hayter, Holmes, Rodrigues
Subs: Stewart, Browning (on for Holmes, 45), Coutts, Rowe, Connell (on for Rodrigues, 60)
Andy Burton, Portsmouth