Super Senior and Kane’s return – Colchester United Talking Points
PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 August 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
These are very early days, and it’s only wise to whisper it at the moment, but Colchester United’s 2018-19 season could be a very exciting one.
Hot on the heels of a battling 0-0 draw at title favourites Notts County on the opening day, John McGreal’s men followed that up with a comfortable home win over Port Vale on Saturday.
It was a great way to open up their home campaign, against a Vale side who had brushed aside ex-Colchester manager Joe Dunne’s Cambridge side 3-0 the previous weekend.
The U’s played some very entertaining, attacking, enterprising football, especially in the first half, and they were good value for their 2-0 win.
In fact, the only down-side – and this is only a minor complaint – is that the U’s did not add to their goal-tally, following early strikes from Courtney Senior (eight minutes) and Ryan Jackson (23).
The hosts should have won at a canter, by three or fours goal at least, but this was still an excellent performance from a fully-fit squad who look very capable of launching a promotion bid over the coming months.
Both U’s goals are worthy of recall – they were of the highest quality.
Senior’s opener was a class goal. He ghosted past a couple of challenges and exchanged a slick one-two with Brennan Dickenson, before dinking the ball over the advancing Scott Brown.
Jackson’s goal was just as good, doubling the lead midway through the first half. Sammie Szmodics was the creator, his deft back-heel releasing the onrushing Jackson, who burst into the penalty area before directing his low shot beyond Brown. It was a great finish by right-back.
Courtney Senior was a revelation, especially in the first half, when Vale defenders were running scared. They simply could not get near the 21-year-old wide- attacker.
Senior is a player who gets supporters off their seats and onto their feet. He is terrific entertainment, especially when embarking on one of his darting runs. He has the pace and guile to beat opponents, especially with his sudden turn of speed.
The ex-Brentford trainee must have been frustrated not to start at Notts County, following a good pre-season, but that omission (he was only an unused substitute at Meadow Lane) merely seemed to spur him on.
Senior took his goal as cool as you like, and later in the first half beat three players on a mazy run which was only halted by a late challenge from Connell Rawlinson, on the edge of the box, which brought a yellow card for the defender.
BIG MAN NOUBLE
It was a slight surprise when boss McGreal chose to start with summer signing Frank Nouble up top, rather than Mikael Mandron, for the first day of the season at Notts County.
Mandron had bagged 10 goals for the U’s last term, and had also scored seven times in pre-season.
But the Frenchman has got to bide his time, because Nouble has repaid the faith shown in his manager with a couple of no-nonsense, powerful displays in the centre forward position.
Nouble ran himself into the ground at Meadow Lane, and he again gave a very committed performance against Vale.
He never gave visiting defenders time to settle, and caused them a real headache throughout, until his eventual substitution with just over 20 minutes remaining.
The only aspect missing from his game was his finishing, which let him down badly on Saturday – fortunately, a hat-trick of missed chances did not prove costly, because the U’s were already sitting pretty at 2-0 up.
Kane Vincent-Young’s decision to finally sign a new contract, at the start of last week, rather than move on elsewhere, was terrific news for the U’s.
The 22-year-old remaining at the JobServe Community Stadium, for at least the next two years, was the final piece in McGreal’s jigsaw before the transfer window closed.
Vincent-Young’s absence (not registered) at Notts County forced the U’s to change tactics at the last minute, and go with three centre-backs, but McGreal was able to revert to a flat-back four against Vale, with Vincent-Young operating as a left-back and so releasing Dickenson to play further up the park.
And the U’s do look a better balanced team, with Vincent-Young in the starting line-up.
He was excellent on Saturday, very measured in what he did – in short, this was a good all-round team display.