McGreal grateful for Hodgson’s touch of class

Colchester United manager, John McGreal, expressed his gratitude to Crystal Palace chief, Roy Hodgson, after the former England boss congratulated him and his side following their shock Carabao Cup victory over the Eagles at Selhurst Park.

The U’s played out a goalless draw with their illustrious opponents before winning the resulting penalty shootout 5-4 – Noah Chilvers netting the decisive kick for the North Essex outfit.

“Mr Hodgson and Ray (Lewington) came to us straight after the game and really give us some plaudits for how we had performed and for the win,” McGreal confirmed.

“That just shows a bit of class straight away – just before the penalties were taken. I’m thankful for that.”

McGreal spoke about the promising youngsters who displayed grit, determination and played lead-roles in the success: “We are big on Academy products coming. We’ve got a young boy, Ryan Clampin, playing left-back – that’s his fourth start in his career. Noah Chilvers comes on, takes up the heat of the battle with 15 minutes to go because we’ve lost an important player with an ankle injury.

“I’ve just said to him, opportunity knocks. He’s been training with us for about a year now and has had little bits of snippets of playing.

“I just said, when you get an opportunity, don’t let it anyone take it away from you. Little did I know, I see him picking the ball up and he’s going down taking the winning penalty.

“Fair credit to him. Such a young boy, showing that little bit of determination to take the pen, to score the winning goal.”

McGreal confessed he didn’t know Chilvers was going to take what proved to be the decisive kick, adding: “Not really. I knew up to four and that was it.

“Steve (Ball) was sorting all that out and once I knew what was going on – I thought it was going to be big Tom Eastman, but I see Noah doing it. I saw the first pen saved, then the first pen scored by us – then, I went and sat over by the bench and listened to the crowd to know what was going on.

Following a mixed bag of results at the start of the campaign, McGreal was hopeful that this result would kick start their season: “We hope so,” he added. 

“We’ve said before, performances have been really good this season but we haven’t got the points return we firmly believe we should be having. 

“But I just think over the last three or four games something is starting to click with the group. 

“We’ve had a little bit of a slow start but the performances have been there and we were able to show that tonight.”


Brian Jeeves

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