colchester 0-1 ipswich
After Saturdays disappointing loss to Gillingham, town were looking to re kindle their earlier impressive pre-season form against Colchester at the "Weston Homes Community Stadium. An impressive following of around 950 Town fans made the trip to Essex and matched, if not outnumbered the home fans inside the ground.
by toby lown
In the pre-match build up an encouraging sign of the style of football mick intends to play come August 5th could be found by the defensive starters practicing their short passing. A sign perhaps that the focus will be playing out from the back. In terms of the first half starting 11 it was a case of a blending of youth and experience with McDonnell, Nydam, Fowler, Mckendry, Morris and Kenlock being handed a chance to impress the management ahead of the new season.
In my opinion Tristan Nydam was the standout of the youth on show, always running around and making himself an option for the pass, at times begging for the ball at his feet. When given the ball he appeared to know exactly what he wanted to do with it as soon as it hit his boot with a variety of first time long and short passes. Ben Morris also deserves a mention with his attacking play, causing problems for the Colchester defence. New defensive addition Dominic Iorfa was utilised at centre back during the first half, showing his ability to operate across the back line, a useful thing to have in Towns defensive armoury. However at the centre of the defensive he was a mixed bag with some impressive interceptions and distribution, but also some sloppy play.
The first half was not particularly easy on the eye with a cagey game unfolding and town struggling to retain possession. One stand out moment from the first half was an audacious chip attempt from the lively Danny Rowe, who saw his effort hit the crossbar, with McKendry heading the rebound straight to Walker in the Colchester net. This was Towns most threatening moment from the first half. The hosts almost took the lead just a few minutes after this chance however as the ball was hooked off the line by an Overhead kick from Adam McDonnell. This turned out to be the last real chance of a rather dire first half.
Towns second half side was not changed too much, with only 3 substitutions being used, Chambers, Celina and Garner came on for Fowler, Mckendry and Morris. This pushed Iorfa out to right back with Chambers taking over at centre half. The addition of these senior faces had an almost instant impact, with the skilful Celina having an effort well saved by Walker in the Colchester net.
The introduction of the three first team faces seemed to revitalise the whole squad, which on 57 minutes produced what turned out to be the winning goal, with Celina and Kenlock linking up well with the latter producing a teasing cross for Garner to score a towering header over the Colchester defenders, sparking the infamous "we've got Joey Garner" chant in the away stand. He made no mistake with a good header, more good signs from the ex-Rangers man who if can produce the sort of form he is showing in pre-season will be a force to be reckoned with in the championship this season.
The period from half time to the 70th minute proved to be Towns most impressive spell, in which they looked very good, passing the ball well and attacking with real threat. McGoldrick, who had been extremely quiet in the first half, was linking up the play much better, and Iorfa seemed to be much more comfortable on the right hand side of defence.
On 70 minutes Town made 7 changes of personnel which signalled the end of Towns attacking threat. The final 20 minutes of the game saw Town begin to see the majority of the possession and retaining the ball for longer periods of time, but no end product was delivered. Flynn Downes produced the stand out moment from the last period of the game, intercepting the ball from a wayward pass he surged forward with real confidence, slipping the ball to Sears who saw his snapshot saved well by Walker.
All in all the game however not always easy on the eye was encouraging by the fact that there were flashes of class from both senior players like Celina and Iorfa and an assured perormace by Webster,as well as youth prospects Morris, Downes and Nydam.
The period from half time until the mass changes provided excitement from a team likely to be close to that lining up next Saturday as Town looked threatening and classy. For me, the player of the match was Tristan Nydam who was constantly running all over the pitch, providing an option for the pass. His first time passing was good, with the efforts that did not quite reach their targets still showing fantastic vision for someone so young.