The last time City played Colchester on a Tuesday night was two seasons ago, some fans may remember that due to insane traffic on the A12 a lot of City fans missed the first half. As I watched the players trudge off at half time, already defeated, I couldn’t help but wish I was still on the A12. Last season’s fixture at the Weston Homes Community Stadium was as tight as the top-knot which sat atop a lot of home fan’s heads, Tuesday’s match was far from tight.
271 City fans travelled down to Colchester and were in high spirits at the start of the match, they nearly had cause for celebration after the first five minutes. James Hanson arrived late at the back post after some good build up play by Davies saw Evan’s put a cross in. However Hanson fired wide the first of only two real chances for the bantams. After that, things went downhill very quickly. It’s safe to say that Brad Jones hasn’t had the greatest start in a Bradford shirt, Colchester were about to find that out for themselves. Colchester have some real pace and are a terrifying prospect on the counter attack. They broke quickly on the 7th minute and flooded towards the City goal, where all the City fans were seated. Harriet bested Darby for pace down the left side and hit a shot which trickled through/under/over Jones’ gloves.
Apart from Jones’ woes City looked out of sorts. You do have to make allowances for the injury and illness problems of late, Tuesday night's XI were a team who aren’t that used to playing with each other. City’s default tactic of throwing the ball up to Hanson was meat and drink for the Us back line, they never looked troubled. Balls over the top skidded away over the dewy lush pitch at a lightening pace, yet we still kept dinking the ball over the top, giving the ball boys more over a game than the Colchester defenders. City were out of ideas.
City’s troubles deepened twenty minutes later. The trio of Jones, Rouits and Burke at the centre of City’s defence it’s fair to say had a night to forget. Whilst there is no doubting Routis and Burke are gifted footballers there miscommunication lead to a second goal which was far too easily conceded. Garvan won the ball in midfield and slid it through a static City back line, Marvin Sordell was there with a very neat finish. Jones was rooted to the spot. As concerning as the performance up to this point was, the usually animated PP looked forlorn and lost on the touchline. Looking at the player’s and manager’s body language was more concerning than the actual performance. They look like a group of people who are out of ideas. The trundled off at half time and trundled back on for the second half.
The second half saw City pretty much have all of the possession, Colchester were more than happy to let them. They picked off every long ball with ease and broke down play efficiently in front of their back four. They succeeded in frustrating the Bantams and played out the game in a very impressive manner.
Then second half also saw a moment of real controversy; Colchester left back Matthew Briggs got into a tangle with Steve Davies which resulted in Briggs seemingly kicking out at Davies. The ref decided that the punishment for this was to book both players.
City’s only two spells of any note came at the beginning and the end of the match. With fifteen minutes left to play PP threw Mark Marshall into the mix, he gave the Colchester back line a couple of things to think about but didn’t manage to create a goal. City did go close through a Tony McMahon drive which thundered against the bar after a corner.
City appear all at sea and City mans are not relishing the prospect of visiting Rochdale on Saturday, another team in great goal scoring form. It will be interesting to see whether Brad Jones is trusted between the sticks.