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22 Entries
Mike Heaps
Carlisle

Pre-dawn on a cold December morning and 34 intrepid travellers board the coach for our longest trip of the season, Carlisle, with 2 more shivering at Braintree.

694 miles, 18 hours plus from departure to arrival back of which 12 and a half were on the coach, a freezing wind, the coach being buffeted by gale force winds and driving rain on our return and a 4-0 thumping. Such is our dedication to the cause of supporting the U's.

Was there anything to enjoy about the trip ? Of course there was. Convivial company and a pre 8 am breakfast stop at Peterborough Services, where the food was still fresh and there was plenty of room. My favourite is a bacon and sausage bap from the Bakehouse. Delicious ! A short stop at Wetherby Services to stretch our legs, then on to the scenic part of the journey along the A66, over Stainmore Summit on the northern Pennine Moors, through the picturesque market town of Kirkby Stephen and on to Tebay Service on the M6. This is a place of home grown food from farmer's market stalls. I just had a cup of coffee, but sat looking out at a partly frozen pond, with birds walking on the ice, and a view of the misty Lakeland hills.

On to Carlisle and the match. A rather dull first half, with little in it, we conceded a goal with Frankie off the pitch. Significant ? Second half we were appalling, when the 3rd goal went in it was too much for Graham, who retired to the relative warmth of the coach whilst the rest of us stayed to watch the continuing shambles unfold amidst sleet showers. In my book Prosser, Pell and Senior (apart from his one moment in the first half) were well below their potential and only Tom Lapslie and Frankie Kent, before his injury, emerged from the game with any credit. Perhaps Frankie should have been substituted at half time as his injury clearly affected his pace. By far and away our worst 45 minutes of the season, although in truth the second half at Stevenage was not much better. Were the players right to come and applaud us at the end ? of course they were. I don't think they were expecting any applause in return and it is right that they thank us for the time and money spent in coming to support them. However, by that time I was only interested in getting back to the warmth of the coach for the second half of our marathon journey. Back home after midnight, when I crawled in to bed beside my already sleeping wife, some 20 hours plus after I got out of it !

So on to Milton Keynes, scene of some regular thrashings in seasons past. We expect, indeed demand improvement of exponential proportions. Hopefully Carlisle was a one off and we get our promotion bid back on track.

Up the U's

Mike Heaps

Mike Heaps
Season so far

Before Saturday we were unbeaten away and had never lost at Stevenage. Inevitably we lost, particularly as I had mentioned it in their programme ! Blame me! Seriously though, I thought the last hour was our poorest performance of the season so far. Whilst the penalty should never have been given, we then completely switched off to present them with a third goal, game over !We all know we are going to experience these afternoons but we cannot afford many of them if we are serious about promotion. 19 points from 12 games is ok but we need to be more consistent, late goals conceded in our last 2 away games have cost 3 points.

So come on U's play every game to your full potential and get us back into league 1.

Mike Heaps
Luton performance

Superb performance, in atrocious conditions against a top team, just shows what we can do.

Nobody played badly and Eastman, Prosser and Vincent-Young at the back were terrific.

Best wishes to Luke Berry, can't imagine how painful it is to dislocate an ankle.

Mike Heaps
Rest of the Season

I write this after Mikael Mandron's late header on Tuesday night, a real boost for everyone connected with the club. The U's had to dig deep in the second half but showed the steel and commitment that was missing in January.
I believe this is the best squad we have had for some years and that, arguably, we have the best manager since Parky (Lambert was looking out for himself) . Even when it doesn't come off you can see we are trying to play football and with a bit more of a killer instinct we can make those play offs. However, it is important that we see off Crewe, Barnet and Morecambe because six of our last seven are against teams currently above us in the table. Up the U's
Mike

Mike Heaps
Happy New Year ?

After an impressive run of just 2 defeats in 17 games, during which we played some excellent football, it all came to a shuddering halt on Saturday. A moment of inexcusable indiscipline by Kyle Reid (do we want to keep him or should he be sent to Coventry !) and some uncharacteristically poor defending cost us. Why did Sammie not come on ? Is this down to the dreaded January window ?
During our good run I thought this was the best team we have had for some years and one that would improve on last season and reach the play offs. However, something has been missing in the last 3 games that suggests it may not happen.
We need a high standard of performance at Wycombe and a win over Grimsby, as it is vital that we get back to winning ways at home.
Up the U's
Mike

Mike Heaps
Barnet trip

After the ball spent most of the first half in the air, we at last played some football in the second half. Ref or his assistant should have seen the handball on the line (Mandron was sent off at Cheltenham for the same offence !).
Sammie Szmodics changed the game, as well as his fantastic strike, he was all action, beating defenders and making them hurry their clearances. He probably does not have the stamina to do that for 90 minutes but once he is fully fit I would like to see him given a run in the team.

Mike Heaps

Jon Burns
Super Sammie Szmodics

Super Sammie Szmodics

Mike Heaps
Observations

I read on the BBC football website that Steve Evans has said he doesn't understand why his supporters had a go at their players after we beat them on Saturday. He has a point. In my view this was our best performance of the season and the first time we have actually beaten a decent side. Our away form has been poor, but I would never be abusive to our players. If they have not played well, as in the first four away games this season, I simply go back to the coach (via the gents!) at the final whistle. If we have played well, even if we have lost (as at Doncaster and Plymouth last season), then I will stay and applaud the players. Nobody needs to tell them if they have had a bad game and they are right to applaud the fans who often make long journey's to watch them.

Mike Heaps
Start to the season

Disappointing start to the season. If we are to get anywhere near promotion this time, we need to match the kind of performance Luton put in against us yesterday. Over the first 3 league games we are well short of that. On paper we look strong in midfield but, Sean Murray's performance against Stevenage aside, we have been second best in all 3 games. Defensively we lack organisation and I felt sorry for Mikael Mandron yesterday, left isolated up front with no service. There is hope ! Good, fast paced performance against Villa that we need to take into the league games and 3 of the next 4 at home. Luton are possibly the best team we will face. Come on you U's.

Mike Heaps
Leyton Orient

Extraordinary finish to game. Seems like common sense prevailed with the EFL and both sides agreed just to go through the motions for the last 8 minutes.
Every sympathy with Leyton Orient, but think the protesters might have come off the pitch after 30/45 minutes in respect to us. Point made, media attention grabbed etc. Good win for the U's, still in with a chance when you look at next week's fixtures.
Finally, for those people who are still contacting Radio Essex to call for Robbie Cowling's head, be careful what you wish for. Cue Leyton Orient !

 


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