Colchester United were untimely beaten to top-six play-off position by Huddersfield Town, Saturday`s away-day opposition in what now represents a meaningless game for the U`s.
Had the Essex side picked up more points in recent weeks – they`ve just one win in twelve games – this clash could have proven pivotal in determining the final League One standings in terms of possible promotion.
Instead, the U’s are playing this penultimate game of the campaign for pride only and, without more points, may yet even finish behind Southampton (presently a seventh place by a point) or Bristol Rovers.
This, after manager Aidy Boothroyd hoped at the turn of spring that Colchester could challenge eventual champions Norwich City and whoever finishes as runner-up for one of the two automatic promotion spots.
Following last weekend`s round of games, where the U`s were confirmed as short on points after a disappointing 1-1 draw against Tranmere, the boss told BBC Radio Essex that his side had finished where they deserved to, citing the old cliché about league tables telling no lies.
The devil, ahead of this next game, is a more detailed analysis, which shows just how and why Huddersfield have managed a sustained-enough push to effectively leapfrog the U`s into an all-important placing.
Here are our top five reasons…
Huddersfield have been producing results in Colchester`s absent pressure and mustered enough character to win games convincingly. While the U`s contrived to lose while playing well recently against Millwall at home and also failed to win away against another close-by opponent, Charlton, Huddersfield sealed their play-off place by doing the opposite.
They beat Walsall at home earlier this month with two late goals in a titanic 4-3 scoreline, also thumping Stockport 6-0 six days ago. Colchester have simply not produced enough when required.
Although not overly consistent, Huddersfield have made a sorry sight of teams the U`s haven`t been able to see of. They beat Wycombe 6-0 at home, while Colchester succumbed to a highly unfortunate hand-ball assisted 1-1 draw in the same fixture. Lee Clark`s team also put seven goals past Brighton earlier in the season, while Boothroyd`s boys managed only a 0-0 in the corresponding game.
Additionally, Huddersfield netted six again last weekend to confirm their minimum sixth place, with a different scorer for each goal and also thrashed Dagenham & Redbridge 6-1 in an early round of the F.A. Cup. Colchester`s highest-scoring win – the now-infamous 7-1 stroll against eventual champions Norwich – is by contrast easily their biggest victory.
Huddersfield had enough desire to double their advantage in the last five minutes at Stockport last week by turning a 3-0 win into 6-0 in that very short space of time. This pails against the U`s record, who would need to total their goals in the last seven games just to match the tally Huddersfield managed in that single game.
While Colchester are finding goals hard to come by, it has been sixteen games since the Terries recorded a no-score draw.
A fifty-percent win ratio in their last twelve games compares against the U`s effort of just a one victory in that time, the so-called business end of the season. While Huddersfield and U`s have each had also have had 15 different goalscorers this season, the latter only have two players, Kevin Lisbie and Anthony Wordsworth, in double figures.
Ex-Ipswich striker Jordan Rhodes has 23 goals in all this season while Colchester`s top-scorer, used on the right wing at times as an injury deputy, is another player with Town connections. Kevin Lisbie has reached 12 to date.
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