Swans 0 Colchester 2

Saturday, 26 August 2000, 0:00
3 mins read

The result was made all the more disappointing by the fact that the division’s third highest attendance had turned up to see it. A crowd of over 6000 were at the Vetch to witness what was, at times, a very poor performance and, at times, just a shambles. The day was capped off by about twenty mindless idiots who thought that the best way to respond to a first home defeat of the season was to invade the pitch with less than 15 minutes left. Admittedly, the morons who ventured onto the turf had an average age of about 16, an IQ of even less and were greeted with boos and angry shouts from those remaining on the terraces. But it is certain to land the club in more trouble with the FAW, despite John Hollins’ attempts to resolve the situation. With play held up for several minutes as the primate minority had their five minutes of fame, JH ran across the pitch to yell at them to go back to the terraces. The response was predictable as he received a torrent of abuse from those nearest the touchline. Even so, he will hopefully gain a certain amount of admiration for doing this, as it must have taken a lot of guts to venture towards a hostile crowd in those circumstances. To his credit, JH did little wrong today. Undoubtedly, the result was caused partly by his inability to sign a striker to bolster a side which mysteriously started without Walter Boyd for the second time in three home games. But on the day, the players have to take most of the blame for what was a dreadful performance all round. The manager took off the three worst players, gave their replacements enough time to change the game and rightly switched formation from 4-4-2 to 3-5-2 in an attempt to turn things around. In the first ten minutes, the Swans started unusually brightly and there was no sign of what was to come. Lee Jenkins had been preferred to Martin Thomas in centre midfield and he looked sharp early on. Both Steve Watkin and Jason Price had chances to cap off some fine passing moves with a goal, but neither could put them away. The Swans should definitely have been ahead, but after 15 minutes they found themselves behind. Lamanda Lua lua, a 19 year old from Zaire slotted the ball home from inside the box, despite a superb challenge from Jason Smith to prevent a shot. The ball fell to Lua Lua with Michael Howard nowhere to be seen. From then on it was all over from the Swans point of view. The realisation that they would have to score two goals to win the match seemed to sink in as they contrived to completely waste what few chances they were given. Most of those chances came from set pieces with a few free kicks in dangerous positions going to either side, thanks to some dodgy refereeing decisions. Swansea’s set piece play was awful, the worst example being a Jonathan Coates free kick which he just tapped two yards in front of him and then lost the ball to a Colchester player. On the whole, Coates had a dreadful game, closely followed by the unimpressive Tommy Mutton and Micky Howard. All three were substituted in the second half as John Hollins reverted to a five-man midfield with Martin Thomas replacing Howard shortly after half time. A few minutes later, a cruel cheer went up as the fourth official held up the number 11 and Coates was replaced by Ryan Casey. The Irishman proved leagues better than his predecessor, with some decent runs at the Colchester defence, but to little effect. With twenty minutes left, JH used his final substitute as Mutton received the Coates treatment from the North Bank and Stuart Roberts finally entered the fray. Shortly afterwards, the game became a non-event as the pitch invasions and a second goal for Colchester left the remaining 15 minutes a humiliating farce – for players and fans alike. Lua Lua and Tony Lock had already hit the woodwork for the visitors as they threatened to run riot. With seven minutes left, the game was won. Lua Lua, who had been a nuisance all day and on the whole beat the tiring Steve Jones hands down over 90 minutes, rapped things up with a low shot into the bottom right hand corner. Showing skill, flair and imagination, he could have scored more. The second goal for the young Zairan received rapturous applause from those on the North Bank that were not already heading for the exits. Such unusually high praise for an opposition player was no doubt partly to congratulate him on a fine solo performance, but it served also as a deliberate reminder to those on the bench of just what it is that the Swansea supporters like, and want, to see.

Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.
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