The common belief is that "second season syndrome" renders a squad, one that showed immense character and bravery the season after being promoted to hold onto their place in the division, helpless and incapable of reproducing those same performances the next. It's an affliction that some say Colchester United are suffering from.
Colchester, who finished a creditable tenth in the Championship last season following their successful promotion, had gone the first two months of the season having picked up just the one win. But October has been a promising month and this confident victory over promotion hopefuls West Bromwich Albion, courtesy of goals from Mark Yeates, who scored a free-kick and a penalty, and Kevin Lisbie, suggests that people should wait before delivering any verdicts.
"It is a massive result and we are all delighted with it," said Irishman Yeates. "We are a confident bunch of lads and when we play like that we can beat anyone in the league and beating West Brom shows that. It has been frustrating that we haven't been getting the results despite playing some really good football."
West Brom took the lead five minutes in when Kevin Phillips surged between two defenders before lobbing the Colchester goalkeeper Aidan Davison.
The home side responded almost immediately. Yeates lifted a fine free-kick over the defensive wall and past Dean Kiely. After 19 minutes, Colchester took the lead when Kevin Lisbie confidently took on and beat Martin Albrechtsen before placing the ball low under Kiely.
The visitors equalised before the interval after Ishmael Miller, on loan from Manchester City, rose in the penalty area to head home a cross from the midfielder James Morrison.
However, West Brom could not find their way through after the break and with Tony Mowbray's men looking increasingly uncomfortable, Colchester took the lead again. With 20 minutes of the game remaining, Yeates converted a spot-kick after he was felled in the penalty area by Albrechtsen. It was enough to seal the victory.
Mowbray's players looked ill at ease in the hemmed-in atmosphere of Layer Road. Their usually attractive passing game deserted them as they struggled to cope with Lisbie and Clive Platt, two strikers that the Colchester manager brought in to replace the departed Chris Iwelumo and Jamie Cureton.
Mowbray refused to be disheartened by the result, and neither was Leon Barnett, the young defender. Barnett added: "We have got to adapt to teams like this. They don't give you time to pass the ball."Reuse content