Date: 5th March 2007 at 8:31am
Written by:

Derby County (3) 5 Colchester U (0) 1

Scores Derby:

Jones, 2
Lupoli, 20
Barnes, 30
Howard, 62 (Pen)
Barker, 69 (OG)

Scores Colchester:

Jackson, 56

Attendance: 36,704

Friday, 2nd March 2007
Pride Park

Duguid U`s star-man, but deadly Derby do damage

In the wake of Colchester United`s 5-1 demolition, in front of the Sky Cameras against Derby, stick out your palms and write the words form and class on each.

One is supposedly temporary, and the other is permanent. It falls to U`s supporters everywhere, after the heaviest defeat of the season, to decide whether the team are in a rough-patch, or simply reverting to type.

United travelled to manager Geraint Williams` one-time stomping-ground, along with almost 300 fans, in the hope of securing their first victory in three outings.

Instead of getting a win, they were completely out-manoeuvred in a rout, and U`s full-back Chris Barker unluckily put the ball into his own net on his birthday. Rams starlet Giles Barnes also forced John White to bring him down in the box through some tricky footwork.

United, conceding in the first minute, endured the worst possible start when Derby`s midfielder David Jones beat ‘keeper Dean Gerken at his near-post with a volley.

Steven Howard`s right-wing assist resulted in the goal, which immediately discredited Geraint Williams decision to leave the tired Chris Iwelumo on the bench in favour of Richard Garcia.

That well-worked move made it one-nil. An almost carbon copy occurred when Arturo Lupoli smashed home a 12-yard strike 18 minutes later, beating Gerken at the same post. In mitigation, very few goalkeepers would have saved the driving shot.

Derby employed the type of start that Colchester have become accustomed to exhibiting at Layer Road this season, and another goal soon followed, this time via a Barnes effort.

Howard, again the provider, flicked the ball into the path of the on-coming Barnes, who glided past Wayne Brown. The England under-18 international then sent an acute low-angled shot cheekily through the legs of Gerken.

Striker Howard later found the net himself, beating Gerken from the penalty spot. Right-back John White, obviously frustrated by Barnes` pace hacked him down in the area, causing the spot-kick that gave the Rams a fourth.

Gerken could not stop it, despite going the right way. Colchester`s misery was complete when Chris Barker then accidentally diverted the ball into his own net barely five minutes later.

In between times, Colchester displayed some of the resilience and fight that has become a trademark of manager Williams` short tenure. Johnnie Jackson hit the string with a swerving header, assisted by a superb cross from U`s captain, Karl Duguid.

The winger, 28, arguably had all of Colchester`s best chances, and was a credit to the side as he continued to probe in vein. Karl`s other efforts included a dipping shot from the centre-left channel – it was too high – and a curving blast. The latter forced Steven Bywater into a smart parry in second-half stoppage time.

Putting those efforts aside, Derby had sauntered past Colchester, temporarily climbing to the top of the Coca-Cola Championship. Whether the emphatic score is down to Derby`s class, or Colchester`s current form, only time will tell.