Fourteen years ago today, one of the finest U’s players of all-time was introduced to the world
In yesterday’s on this day feature, we brought you the memories of a thrilling 5-4 victory over Bristol Rovers in which Lomana Tresor Lua Lua bagged an 89th minute winner to send Layer Road into raptures.
Three-hundred and sixty-four days previously, and fourteen years ago today, Lomana made his U’s bow at Saltergate as he replaced Paul Abrahams for the final twenty minutes away at Chesterfield on Saturday 9th January 1999.
One of the finest, most exciting players to pull on a U’s shirt, this was the day that everyone sat up and took notice of Lomana who, within four minutes of his arrival on the pitch, fired the U’s back into the game to bring the score to 2-1.
The game was less than two weeks after Lomana’s eighteenth birthday and, although Steve Wignall’s men would let in one more to lose the game 3-1 in what was his penultimate game in charge of Colchester, it was the beginning of a career that has taken Lomana to the Champions League.
Whilst at Layer Road, Lomana made forty-three starts for the U’s and netted twenty times along the way. He became known as a bit of a ‘super sub’ under Steve Whitton and would produce the goods more often than not.
One of my most vivid memories of Lomana was in a game at home to Bournemouth in January 2000, two weeks after the 5-4 win over Bristol Rovers.
With the score at one-apiece, Lua Lua replaced Jamie Moralee ten minutes into the second half, before running rings around the Bournemouth defence and scoring twice to seal the three points for the U’s.
However, he injured his ankle through one of his trademark, gymanstic celebrations when scoring the U’s third of the game and had to then go off once more with three minutes remaining!
He may have only been on the pitch for around half an hour, but he turned the game on its head, lit up Layer Road once again and won all three points for the U’s.
His finest moment undoubtedly came in the League Cup tie away to Queens Park Rangers, just weeks before his record £2.25m departure to Bobby Robson’s Newcastle United.
With the U’s trailing 1-0 from the first leg, it seemed a tall order to go to Loftus Road and progress through, but with an astonishing Man of the Match display and accompanying hat-trick from the Congolese maestro, Steve Whitton’s side played Rangers off the park and went through to a tie with Sheffield United at Brammall Lane.
It was an extraordinary performance and a fitting way to remember one of Layer Road’s finest players.
Let’s hope it isn’t the last we see of Lomana Tresor Lua Lua at Colchester United.
Other Notable Events Today:
1996 – Club stalwart Tony English made his final appearance in a 3-2 defeat at Peterborough.
2007 – Despite taking the lead through Jamie Cureton, the U’s bow out of the FA Cup away at Barnet.
With thanks to Col U Day By Day for supplying these dates.
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