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Club News

U's See Off Needham

27 July 2013

Fine display grabs pre-season win.

But it was the visitors who enjoyed the surface most, racing to an emphatic 3-0 win against game opponents. The U's starting eleven stayed on the pitch for the whole 90 minutes and a number of players staked a firm claim for a place in the side at Gillingham in seven days' time. 

A lush pitched welcomed the U's when they arrived at Needham, a great tribute to the hard-working home club.

The goals came from Bean, Massey and Morrison, with Eastman hitting the bar, and more good goal efforts than you could count on the fingers of two hands.

The game developed into the U's versus a 10 man defence for long stages of the second half as Needham could not keep with the pace and movement  of the U's.

The first close call for Needham came in the second minute when Gavin Massey had time to bend a 20 yard shot just wide of the far post. With the U's passing the ball well, but being allowed little time by Needham, constant subtle changes of formation were a feature of the play. 

On 25 minutes Olufemi had got into a very threatening advanced position on there right, but his cross failed to beat the first man, and the ball rolled behind for a corner. From the flag kick Tom Eastman headed back across goal and the ball appeared to be going into the top corner, but it struck the underside of the bar and was cleared.

It was inevitable that the U's would ask Needham one question too many, and the inevitable breakthrough arrived in the 33th minute.

Left back Michael O'Donoghue skipped past a challenge and drove the ball towards the far corner of the goal from 20 yards. Keeper Plummer could only push the ball out at full stretch, and Marcus Bean planted the loose ball into the net from 10 yards.

The second half was all about the U's driving forward against a side who had rather weakened themselves with three half time changes. Alex Gilbey enjoyed a magnificent 45 minutes, doing everything but score.

Not forgetting the relative standing of the opposition, there were times when Gilbey drove forward in the style and manner of a young Steven Gerrard. Needham had little answer, and could only gallantly park 10 men behind the ball and contest every ball they got near to.

The inevitable second goal arrived in the 64th minute. Again, O'Donoghue was the architect, cutting in down the left. He strode into the box and his pass was dummied by the ever-intelligent Morrison, to leave Massey with a close range chance which he converted.

With a wall of red to penetrate, shots from distance were appealing.

Drey Wright and Alex Gilbey (twice) came closest to beating Plummer, and further chances were liberally spread around the team.

The final goal came from Morrison, who converted a close range chance. from yet another carefully-constructed build-up. Needham were a relived to hear the final whistle on the stroke of 90 minutes.

For the U's the game had been so much more beneficial than any training game. They played at full throttle throughout, and clearly players took to the pitch knowing that places in the first team next week were at stake. 

With thanks to Jim French for his help with this report.

Colchester: Walker, Olufemi, Thompson, Eastman, O'Donoghue, Bean, Gilbey, David Wright, Drey Wright, Morrison, Massey Subs: Phillips, Hubble, Curtis, Bonne, Simmons

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