So in the end it really had become an all too regular occurrence, even for the people who matter the most.
That familiar (read: boring) tale of much possession, several created opportunities, and nothing to show for it. Quite often we can take away the positive that our performance was good for a large period, but this performance was to be the straw that broke the camel’s back as Craig Short (and assistant Dave Kevan) were today released from their Meadow Lane employment.
I’ll blog on that later this evening. First up, yesterday’s match.
Even by our own recent standards, rarely do even Notts County get to see such positive starts begin to sour so quickly.
Notts controlled the very early possession and found themselves with a 1-0 lead on eight minutes thanks to Craig Westcarr finishing after a sublime through ball from Karl Hawley. The goal was soured though by the injury picked up by Westy in the process.
County’s top scorer for the season so far managed to play through the pain for a further four minutes but was to be placed by Kevin Smith.
The switch did little to knock the players off their stride as they continued to press, creating several good chances along the way. That the players for once had the early lead would’ve surely erased any self-doubt following recent away performances.
Colchester though to their credit were to wise up to County’s plan of attack and began to force their way back into the game, thanks in part to the introduction of Kayode Odejayi. Fortunately for Notts though they were still to hold their slim one goal lead through to half time.
As has become the norm though, Notts’ best had been and gone and it was inevitably backs to the wall for the second half.
Lee Hughes, undoubtedly buoyed by the news this week that he wouldn’t require surgery for his problematic hip, was proving to be ineffective. Smith, the earlier replacement for Westcarr was to be substituted himself for Jake Jervis. Little or no impact was to come of the switch.
And indeed, the up and down nature of Lee Hughes’ season was to continue as he picked up a yellow card. Why? Who knows. Reports to this point are hardly the clearest. What is crystal clear is that it is Hughes’ fifth booking of the season so far and he now has to sit out the visit of Southampton next Saturday.
Colchester were to find their deserved equaliser through that substitute Odejayi when he found himself unmarked to head in from six yards with just a quarter of an hour remaining.
County had once against thrown away a lead and a strong first half now meant very little. There were 15 minutes remaining and Notts had to hold on tight for the rest of the ride.
They didn’t. Unsurprisingly Notts weren’t to learn their lesson so it was to be no great shock that the man Kayode Odejayi was to find the winner on 83 minutes.
So the woeful away form continues having squandered another fantastic position, and the time has come where even good performances aren’t enough to mask the disappointment of three points dropped.
This is the fourth game already this season where we’ve robbed ourselves of the points. Those 12 points would see us currently sitting joint top of nPower League One. Such a fine margin has proven to be Short & Kevan’s downfall, rightly or wrongly.
Next Saturday, Southampton visit the Lane themselves desperate to find some stability to their season. Notts already find themselves managerless, and probably missing , Luke Rodgers, Neal Bishop and Westcarr through injury so the loss of Hughes piles even more pressure on an already fully stretched, underachieving side.
Who is left to take the game by the scruff? Alan Judge will make his return from suspension, Ben Davies will of course be looking to get back on the goal trail, whilst Karl Hawley will again need to prove himself as a goalscorer as he has failed to do all season long so far.
It’s a time for heroes, make no mistake.