Colchester 3 - 0 Preston NE
Saturday 3rd March 2012 - 15:00 (League)
The furthest trip of the season for the travel weary North End fans and possibly the worst result to boot with a soul destroying defeat at the hands of the very mid table Colchester United. The U's thoroughly deserved their win and I would not wish to take anything away from them but they are not a team I expect to be in the play off places any time soon. After some progress for Graham Westley in games two to five we appear to be almost back at square one after games six and seven and for some the Westley honeymoon ended at the WHC Stadium by the A12 on Saturday evening. Certainly, the travelling North End fans were hurting very badly at the end and it would be very wise of the Manager and Chairman to note these frustrations.
Having said all that we started the game well with Robertson having a goal ruled out for offside, Miller hitting the bar and the home keeper making an excellent reflex save all in the fist twenty minutes. The home side were struggling to find their rhythm but once they got going they posed a real threat to a North End side, who for once under Westley, looked disorganised. Soon after Miller's effort a home corner from the left found Wordsworth who headed on for Gillespie to score. It came from nothing and lifted the home side who went on to finish the first period well on top.
The home side carried on where they left off after the break and when we conceded a very dubious penalty for a Coutts hand ball it was once again Gillespie who sent the spot kick just past Stuckmann's outstretched hand and effectively the game was over. Westley brought Hume and Proctor on and while they upped the ante a little for North End these are clearly two players nowhere near their best after their respective injuries. To add insult to injury in the final minutes a Colchester move started on the edge of their own box saw Bond put through to fire past Stuckmann. It was the final insult to the travelling contingent, quite a number of who left before the final whistle.
It is a tough time to be a North End fan and while the huge majority understand the need for major surgery at Deepdale they are suffering pain throughout the whole of the operation. We are now, unbelievably, looking down the league table and not up but fortunately, I think, we have two home games in the next seven days which should take the sniff of getting into a relegation fight away. I thought we missed Holroyd and Marrow on Saturday with too many changes once again unsettling the side. The fans will be expecting much better tomorrow night against Chesterfield and on Saturday against Scunthorpe - let's hope the boys deliver.