Ball frustrated with naive U’s

Southend United 2-0 Colchester United – Reaction

Despite Sky Bet League Two positions, once again, that old footballing adage that possession is nine/tenths of the law proved to be little more than a myth, as the Essex derby went to current form with Southend claiming three priceless points in their bid for survival.

But what of Colchester United? Little over a month ago you’d have put your mortgage on Steve Ball’s men running amok at Roots Hall. However, while Mark Molesley’s charges have dug deep of late, question marks have risen as to the mental toughness of their North Essex rivals.

Certainly, both of Southend’s goals were avoidable. Simeon Akinola unmarked to nod the Blues in front, while Kyle Taylor left a clutch of Colchester defenders in his wake before teeing up Timothee Dieng for Southend’s second.

There was no way back after that, and Ball was clearly angry with that he’d witnessed from his side.

“We worked all week on the fact that we wanted to start well but we showed naivety in giving away some silly free-kicks inviting a team who have obviously changed their style of play to put it in the box at any opportunity,” the U’s boss bemoaned.

“We gave away awful free-kicks and again, what seems a common theme right now in not picking up from set-pieces, which we’d worked on all week.

“It’s happened again – we started the game so poorly and it’s cost us.

“I think I counted six free-kicks given away in the first 15 minutes and it was sloppy, lazy defending, not working your feet, not standing up and it’s unforgivable.”

Southend were pushed back for large spells after the interval. But Colchester simply didn’t match the Blues for determination – a vital commodity in a division where quality often comes at a premium: “We controlled the game in the second half but when you start a game like that, you give yourself a mountain to climb and you’re always going to come up short,” Ball added.

“The first goal knocked us back and gave them the impetus to hurt us again through the centre of the pitch.

“Cliché as it sounds, goals change games and we wanted to come here and get a good foothold but it does come back again, I’m afraid, to giving up cheap opportunities in our box and getting an early goal.

“All of that matters so much because I felt had we got the first goal, we’d have certainly been winners of the match with the prep that we’ve done.

“The first goal was vital – it shouldn’t be everything but it certainly hurt us today, in a big way.”


Brian Jeeves

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