The past two games at the County Ground have been a perfect microcosm of a football league season, as it showed one day everything can go to plan and the next how a game can slip away from you if your performance slips below its normal standard.
Last Saturday nobody could do any wrong, every player looked to be driving Town towards promotion, we even had Lloyd Isgrove passed children on his walk around the pitch like the pope on a state visit.
Then Colchester visits SN1 and an injury to key player Mathieu Baudry sees a complete change of performance, resulting in Town on the wrong side of another 3-0 defeat to the U’s this season.
In the first 30 minutes of the game, Town looked the much better side as Isgrove looked his dangerous self with both Anthony Grant and Danny Rose controlling the midfield, but as Baudry exited, Tom Broadbent entered, and Richie Wellens’ side seem to lose their heads.
It’s unfair to entirely blame Broadbent for the defeat with him rusty after a lack of first-team football, but I’m sure even he would admit he looked out of his depth at times last night.
When the former Army man first arrived at Town in January this year he started well and looked a good signing, but by the end of the season, his form began to tail off, resulting in him only starting twice in Town’s last nine games.
After finding himself down the pecking order during the summer with the arrivals of Baudry and Daniel Ballard it seemed he would be fourth choice centre-back, but with Ballard returning to Arsenal and Baudry possibly out with his injury it’ll be interesting to see if the manager calls upon the 27-year-old again, goes for the untested Taylor Curran, or plays another defender like Zeki Fryers out of position.
Another question to be asked of the starting eleven this weekend concerns who starts between the sticks.
Does the manager keep faith with Luke McCormick or go for new loan signing Steven Benda?
McCormick has enjoyed a decent season so far for Town, not making any serious clangers, but unfortunately, he made a slight mistake for Colchester’s second goal and should’ve dealt with Theo Robinson’s strike on goal much better.
I would keep faith with the veteran keeper and give Benda a run out in the upcoming Leasing.com Trophy game against Plymouth to see if he can impress the boss, but I can see Richie Wellens deciding McCormick’s time as undisputed number one will come to an end this weekend.
On Saturday Town travel to the Abbey Stadium to face Colin Calderwood’s Cambridge United side in what will turn out to be a huge test of character for his squad.
As the great orator, Rocky Balboa famously said, “It ain’t how hard you can hit. It’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” Yes, it’s an overused quote, but for good reason.
Town got hit with a pretty hefty punch last night, something this squad hasn’t experienced regularly, it will be interesting to see how they respond this Saturday.
Will they regress? Make the same mistakes and waste their impressive opening to the season? Or learn from last night’s poor showing and prove to the Town faithful and the rest of the league that their recent form isn’t a flash in the pan, but something that is here to stay, and they will be serious promotion contenders throughout the entire campaign.