Colchester United 1-3 Hull City

Last updated : 19 March 2008 By Rick Skelton

It was another fantastic away day in this wonderful season for Hull City. For 40 minutes we were fast and fluent, pretty much unplayable. The second half was a scrap but ours is a team that can and will mix it with anyone and we battled through the second half and found the extra quality to complete a comfortable win.

Colchester were reduced to ten men early on when Phil Ifil tripped Fraizer Campbell on the edge of the box. It was a very harsh red card because Campbell was never going to latch on to the through pass. The away following, which had a better view than the referee off the pass and where it was going, fell about laughing at the decision while the ColU brigade fumed. It was a rubbish decision from a referee who made a lot of baffling decisions, generally against them in the first half and us in the second. In fairness to him, the Colchester fans were angered by every decision, but they had no right to be. He got plenty right, like booking Virgo for a criminal tackle on Campbell and booking Heath for chopping down Garcia in full flow.

While the decision was poor, it didn't change the flow of the game. We were dominating against eleven men and we continued to dominate against the ten. We passed the ball well, pushed our full-backs and wingers on and stretched their defence. Deano held the ball up and provided the ammunition for Marney, Ash and Pedersen who were able to slip Campbell in 5 or 6 times. He was halted by marginal offside decisions on three occasions but he eventually broke onto a pass from Ash and scored at the second attempt. Minutes later, he got on the end of a super pass from Pedersen, took the ball wide and lashed it in with his left foot. We were dominant and comfortable and we looked like we might score five again or even more. Colchester hadn't managed an attack since about the 3rd minute when Boaz comfortably caught a cross, but they scored not longer after we'd gone 2-0 up. Sloppy defending gifted them the ball, they got it to Lisbie and he finished well from the edge of the box. It was undeserved and from our point of view, really unnecessary but it gave them a lift. Had we kept it tight until half time, the second half would have been more comfortable. We made and squandered more chances before the break and in the end, we were lucky to end the half in front after Bo made a brilliant save in stoppage time.

Colchester obviously had a talking to at half time because they were a different side after the break. They put a lot of pressure on the ball and forced us to play far more quickly than we'd have liked. Our defenders had to hit the ball longer and though Windass put himself about and won some things, the balls were generally quite aimless and gave Colchester possession too easily. When we passed the ball into midfield, they closed the space down and we often had to go backwards again. For about 20 minutes, it was quite frustrating. Things might have been more comfortable if we'd scored. Pedersen and Ash both shot straight at their 'keeper when they should've scored. Watching said 'keeper was a laugh. He was appalling. He had all the brains of Heather Mills' legal team and the agility of her wooden leg. We defended pretty well. Colchester managed a couple of half chances, forced several corners and were awarded 2 very dubious free kicks in dangerous areas but never looked like scoring. Bo made 2 good catches and a decent save from Platt. As they tired, we used our subs and looked fresher and we started to make chances again. Ricketts was able to exploit the space down the right after they withdrew their left back to go 3 at the back. Turner and Garcia hit the bar and Folan finished the game, latching onto a great pass from Marney, rounding the 'keeper and sliding the ball into the empty net.

Myhill was rock solid. The save in first half stoppage time was crucial. He showed his fantastic reactions to keep out a powerful header. He was calm in the second half, barking orders and encouraging his defence. He didn't kick as well as he would have liked. His quick distribution was very good, taking every opportunity to throw short or roll the ball to Clement. Ricketts had a good night too. He got forward well, particularly in the first half and put in several wicked crosses that were begging for a big guy at the far post. He defended sensibly and put himself in good positions to see everything. Dawson coped well with the ball in the air; he was obviously a target in the second half. He was rampaging in the first half but quieter after the break. Another solid outing.

Turner did everything he does well, won headers, made tackles, and caused havoc in the opposition's box. He gave away two free kicks but they were incredibly harsh decisions. On one occasion, he took up the right position, Clive Platt ran across and jumped into and over him and Turner was penalised. His movement off the ball is getting better and better. He's often available to receive from his fellow defenders; he's taking up really good positions in space. He's trying to use the ball too, although it does usually end up going long. There was one occasion where the ball went from Clement to Turner, to Ricketts, back to Turner, another 1-2 with Ricketts, into Marney, back to Turner again and then he walloped it. It happened a few times because Colchester closed the space and ensured Marney couldn't turn with the ball and Ricketts couldn't move down the right. It was nice to see us trying to use the ball though. Turner needs to work on the long passing. Clement had a mixed game. He was good on the ball again, especially in the first half. He struggled against Clive Platt in the air although it's hard to imagine Wayne Brown doing any better. Platt did a great job of pulling onto Clement. What was worrying was the ease in which Platt beat Clement to two long balls between our left sided centre half and full back, held him off and used the ball, once to get a shot in and once to set up their winger for a cross. Clement also let one ball bounce, like he did at Bristol City but got away with it. He made good interceptions and plenty of headers in the last 15 minutes. He takes up great positions and doesn't panic.

The midfield was a touch below par. They enjoyed the first half and passed well but after the break, we struggled to impose ourselves on the game. They didn't see as much of the ball and we were sloppy with some possession. Colchester deserve immense credit for working as hard as they did. Marney came into his own in the last 20 minutes, intercepting loose clearances and running at their defence. Ash defended well but was a bit more ragged on the ball than he's been lately. It was tough because despite the numerical advantage, there weren't many targets for the guy in possession. Garcia worked hard down the right but never really beat his man. Ricketts, running beyond him, was the main threat down the right. Pedersen had a similar game, although he made really good runs off the ball and with better control, he would've been bearing down on goal 4 or 5 times. His pass for the second goal, under pressure from an oncoming tackle, was excellent. He looked jaded as the second half went on. Hughes replaced him and provided a calming influence. He took some responsibility on the ball and helped us wrestle the initiative back.

Campbell was incredible again. It doesn't matter how many games you see, you just cannot praise his work rate highly enough. He turns up everywhere when we don't have the ball. His running off the ball was excellent, as mentioned and he finished well. Deano held the ball up and took the knocks. He occupied defenders and enabled Campbell to find space and Garcia to run off him. He missed a great chance with his head that would have sent us in 3-1 up at the break. As Deano tired, we introduced Folan. He had a great time, he won the ball in the air, he raced into space down the right hand side and he held the ball up. He scored a lovely goal and the only blot on his copybook was when he was caught offside as Marney raced away with Folan one side and Campbell the other. There was no way he should've been offside, he had lots of space to run into.

Overall, it was a very satisfactory evening and a well earned three points. Watching us put a team fighting against relegation to the sword was encouraging for Saturday. One Colchester fan we spoke to thought we were the best team they'd seen this season. Another thought we were very good and that although the sending off was harsh, it didn't change the result. A third insisted the referee was from Hull and he was the only reason they lost. Muppet.

We're into serious dream land territory now. Long may it continue!

Ratings: Myhill 7, Ricketts 8, Dawson 7, Turner 7, Clement 7, Garcia 6, Pedersen 7 (Hughes), Ashbee 6, Marney 6, Campbell 8 (Okocha), Windass 6 (Folan).