Walsall continued their shocking record in Essex to record their first defeat in 2013 and allow Colchester to win their first game in 10.
It would be easy to say the departure of ROK and the absence of Febian Brandy culminated in our defeat but the high standards that have been set recently were undone by a team that just didnt turn up!
Gone were the silky skills and one touch football we were used as we spent most of the game hoofing the ball upfield to a lonely Will Grigg, most will know hes not going to win many headers against Colchester defensive partners – both over 6ft!
The first half was better than our second half performance but it wasnt great and Colchester, dare I say it were the worthy winners.
On reflection of Saturday’s game it was difficult to see which team were top of the form table and which were at the bottom, it was a none existent spectacle.
We made one enforced change, Nicky Featherstone replacing the suspended Febian Brandy.
Easy to suggest in hindsight but Bowerman should have started!
We started off brightly with a Mal Benning free kick which was well saved from Colchester keeper Sam Walker. This was followed up with a free header from Paul Downing, which should have found the back of the net however found the advertising hoardings.
A moment of madness from Ian Mcloughlin led Colchester to their first effort and raised the confidence of our hosts…A long ball upfield bounced awkwardly for Mcloughlin who attempted to beat former Saddler Jabo Ibehre in the air, however Jabo won the challenge easily which headed towards the Walsall goal, only for skipper Andy Butler to clear off the line for a corner.
The only other real chance for Walsall came on 40 minutes when an intelligent corner from Jamie Paterson found its way to James Baxendale but he pulled his shot well wide from a good position.
The second half was a non existant affair and you felt whichever side scored first, would win…and they did.
On 78 minutes, Paul Downing played a tame ball back to Ian Mcloughlin but it found the feet of Freddy Sears who had his shot well saved by Mcloughlin but Jabo was their to guide the ball into an empty net.
Walsall didnt look like getting back into the game and Sears finally put Walsall out of their misery with a goal with less than a minute left on the clock.
Sears had been a real handful all afternoon and he calmly slotted away from a pinpoint cross to send the Colchester fans (very few of them) into raptures and saw the Walsall faithful heading towards the exits.
This was maybe a dose of realism. Safe to say the dream of play-offs was more tongue in cheek than expectation and this result confirms a season of mid-table mediocrity.
In the words of Andy Butler – it was one of those games, lets move on.