Don’t panic just yet – Colchester 1-0 Imps

Courtesy Graham Burrell

I always feel less inclined to write about a defeat, not because I believe everything is rosy or I refuse to accept our failings, but because I’m a mardy bugger who doesn’t like losing.

I certainly feel that in the event of a defeat, the best thing to do in terms of an article is pause and reflect, rather than be overly reactive. Too many people go to social media immediately berating anyone and everyone once we’ve lost a game and it would be easy to do the same after yesterday’s game.

Then, when you take a step back and reflect, there’s a bigger picture which the cruel sting of a defeat often masks. Some people can’t see it at all of course. Others don’t want to.

I’ll be honest, yesterday wasn’t good at all. It’s the second season in a row we’ve gone to Colchester and not turned up which is disappointing, especially with such a great set of fans in terms of vocal support. We take 1,000 away and yet sections of the side don’t turn up for the game. I’m not going to be reactive and say things like ‘unacceptable’ or ‘not good enough’ because it was only a fortnight ago I was on here praising a 6-2 away win at Port Vale.

There’s not an awful lot to say about the game is there? Danny, in my eyes, got the team selection right, but even Jason Shackell coming back didn’t help out with a sloppy goal we conceded. I do know lots of people want Kellan Gordon given a run out at right back instead of James Wilson and they’re entitled to ask for that. What I do know is there’s a world of difference between playing Scunthorpe stiffs in the EFL Cup and Colchester in the league.

Courtesy Graham Burrell

I’ll confess I don’t think James Wilson is a great right back, but I do think he’s more suited to the role than Gordon. The Derby lad is clearly a winger, an attacking force whom, given the performance from the wide players yesterday, might be getting a chance in the coming weeks. If he does get his first team opportunity, I sincerely hope it is pushing forward so we can see what he’s capable of. All the plaudits coming his way from the Scunthorpe game are around making runs forward, but our right back needs more defensive qualities than anything else.

Away from the goal it was just a poor match between two sides who seemed to be doing their best to not win the game. Colchester offered little of the threat I expected, their goal was perhaps a little fortunate and they got all three points which I’m sure they’re delighted about, but they played us on one of our worst days. We’ve seen this performance a few times from City, first half against Crawley, 75 minutes against Bury and the whole match at Northampton. We’re not adverse to looking poor and nor is it one man’s fault.

You know where this leads me don’t you? Big John of course. Immediately after the final whistle social media was flooded with anti-Akinde stuff, calling him everything and anything that people could think of. He had a bad game. No doubt. So did McCartan, Andrade and Anderson, yet why are they not being hammered? Anderson was, up to Akinde arriving, involved in a club record deal albeit for two players, why is he not being questioned as heavily?

Courtesy Graham Burrell

The problem I have is I don’t feel I can say when John Akinde hasn’t played well because I’m afraid of being lumped in with the fans who delight every time he doesn’t. I don’t get why we have to have a scapegoat and here’s a thing; Danny doesn’t either. I don’t often reveal my conversations with Danny and I will never, ever quote him directly from our personal chats, but he’s told me in recent weeks he doesn’t get why some of the fans have to identify one player whom they want to call out, all of the time.

What really upsets me is the ‘fans’ who wait on social media to get their bile in quickly. It happened with Farman last season, some supporters were delighted when Paul dropped a cross or cost us a goal because it vindicated their ridiculous witch hunt. there’s an element of that with John, one or two people are actively looking for him to fail. When you do that, you don’t see the positive in what he does. Okay, there wasn’t much to see yesterday, but that wasn’t just Akinde was it? Why wasn’t there a call for McCartan to be dropped? He’s a forward, he’s scored fewer than John Akinde, why isn’t he coming in for stick too?

Glass half full, or half empty? Sadly, in the case of John Akinde, some fans will never be convinced.

I feel as though our defeats and failing these days are almost always hinging on Akinde, people see both the wins and the losses as a symptom of his performance alone and it isn’t fair on the player. I got called out by people for doing a worst XI vote the other week and for constantly breating Drewe Broughton, yet some of the same people who did so are openly having a pop at John every game. He didn’t deserve stick against Carlisle, but when he had the run and shot in the second half, people were critical he didn’t score, not positive that he’d got on the ball and created our only real chance of the second half. Glass half full, or half empty? Sadly, in the case of John Akinde, some fans will never be convinced.

That said, he was poor yesterday. I won’t lie nor do I have rose-tinted glasses on, but he wasn’t the worst imp on the pitch. You wouldn’t know it though.



  1. Calling it spot on as usual, Gary. We all feel it when we lose but far fewer mardy days this year than any I can recall in over 25 years of supporting the club. Some people just need to get some perspective. UTI.

  2. On behalf of all readers of this can I express sadness at the events in Leicester yesterday evening. That was a tragedy

  3. The reason John Akinde gets a verbal hammering is quite simple in my opinion. He has replaced yesterday’s hero Matt Rhead (no offense), but. I think it was in most fans minds from the day he signed for City. Fair enough Akinde has not set the world on fire with his performances. Which made those who prejudged him an easy target, to vent their frustrations. Every season, the fans have to have a scapegoat. So he needs encouragement, not punishment.

  4. Once again Gary you are spot on. Everyone needs to calm down and carry on believing. We are in a better place now than for many years and we should all embrace it. It was good to speak to you in bar last week and see how passionate you are for the club and its reputation.

  5. Well I know this,City spent alot of money buying Akinde who has one goal from open play and yet we let Palmer go who as yet has scored Nine goals..ironic eh ?

    • I don’t see any irony. He didn’t do the same at Lincoln, and on his return he cleared a nailed-on goal off the line for us.

  6. I have a view which I will respond with in due course. With games comes the evidence….Gary who I respect wears his heart on his sleeve, however I am he who is a generation older same as your dad, Gary. I have a more measured view. It may not be popular but it will be an honest assessment.

  7. In reply to Malcolm every football club has the scenario where someone who has left a club to do well elsewhere.

  8. You may or may not remember my cautioning of a bad run of form and injuries some weeks back when some of you had already won this league. Well here we are going through exactly that. Danny has warned that LCFC have no divine rights to win matches and here we are! Still we are still top and it will come back with hard work and injuries mending. Up the Imps, long live the Cowleys!!

  9. Good assessment Gary. I’m not panicking yet as the rest of League 2 appear to be shooting themselves in the foot when City slip up. We will still be up there towards the end of the season when it matters.
    With regards to Saturday the game was dire from both sides. It was very clear after 10 minutes that the instructions (to both sets of players) do not concede.
    It was a poor game as bad as last year. I don’t think there was one city player who stood out none of them did themselves justice.
    It’s a fact that the rest of the sides look at Lincoln as the team to beat, you only had to see how Colchester players celebrated in front of the City supporters at the end. It was as ff they had won the League.
    FGR & Cooperman are next and that is the best team to play and get back to winning ways
    UTI Roll on Saturday ⚽️⚽️⚽️

  10. This League it would seem is very tight with all teams hardly without exception capable of beating any other. Lincoln City have come out on the right side of several close encounters and added to a couple of good victories against the likes of Exeter and MK Dons have found themselves top of the table. Prior to the last 3 games much of that success can be put down to a miserly defence. There has been illness in the squad and the absence of Shackell previous to Saturday was significant as was obviously playing with 10 men for much of match against Cambridge and then losing Mr Eardley for half the Carlisle game and those two calamitous mistakes. Two draws therefore in these games given these events can be considered reasonable. I think we won all 3 games during Frecks suspension so although it can be argued that we have missed him, Pett has been a more than capable like for like replacement. So why are we getting so wound up when clearly coming out of those 2 games with two draws given the circumstances was reasonable. Our approach play for much of the season has been easy on the eye but lacks that final pass to create a goal scoring opportunity this being no more evident than in the marginal 1 0 defeat against Colchester on Saturday. Personally I think the vast majority of people want John to get a goal to kick start his season but he is unconvincing as an aerial ball winner so perhaps it’s time to start Rheady and big John together and see what happens. Failing that move Pett further up with Freck in midfield. 3 games ago we were 4 points clear. Surprisingly 2 point from 9 and we remain 2 points ahead. The pack is bunching up but I’m confident that we will stretch away once we have a fully fit and healthy squad.

  11. There is no reason for panic at all. Begrudgingly I would give a lot of credit to Colchester. Having played 3 at the back in their previous games, they changed their system totally to match up against ours and had clearly done their homework. Whenever Andrade or Anderson received the ball they were immediately surrounded by 2 and often 3 Colchester players which cut much of our supply off at source. Combine that with Pett and MacCartan both having rare off days in the central areas and you have a recipe for a poor/ineffective performance. My only criticism (if I dare to criticise Danny & Nicky) is that our Plan A clearly wasn’t working and it took a very long time for us to change anything in terms of tactics and personnel. I like what he tried to do – I would have just done it 15 minutes sooner knowing we just weren’t getting anywhere and were at that stage 1 down.

    That said, still top of the league and plenty of other results fell in our favour.

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