So, no early Christmas presents for us at the weekend then. And we thought we had been extra good this year too. Not once have we used the word feck or beggar. Much, anyway. A 3-1 reverse at home to Mansfield means we couldn’t see ourselves soar into the festive season on a wave of glad tidings. Can we extract ourselves from the sofa and headlong towards a New Year with a knock-out Boxing Day? Or will we left looking punch-drunk?
Colchester United v Stevenage: The Lowdown
It’s all round to Colchester for this year’s Boxing Day bust-up; taking on the Us for the second time this season, which means it’s time to start expecting more repeat callers as 2019 exhibits itself before us over the next few days. There are certainly worse folk we could spend Christmas with than Colchester United. Your in-laws, for a start. The big question is, however, whether our hosts have a gift waiting for us when we rock up at their door.
P9 W3 D1 L5 F14 A16; last result: Stevenage 0-1 Lincoln City, 08/12/2018
For the third time this season and second time this month, it’ll be Lee Collins. Not sure we’ve had the same ref twice in such a short space of time before, but not sure we’ve actually given it any thought before either.
P11 W2 D2 L7 F14 A22; last result: Stevenage 3-1 Colchester United, 06/10/2018
In beating the Us indoors earlier this season, a run of nine winless games for us came to a blessed end. That run had gone all the way back to Boxing Day 2011; our first-ever meeting famously ending 6-1 in our favour at their place. We won’t lie to you: we don’t rate our chances of repeating that trick. We’ve had another Boxing Day get together round theirs since that grand day out. And it was joining the turkey in getting a stuffing back in 2013.
If the Stags were in decent nick at the weekend, this Us outfit have even more going in their favour. Good news for them, we’re sure. Bad news for us, we can only fear. In spite of a decent win over ’em in October, Colchester are high-flying in third; only two behind MK Dons. And it was at the Artists Formerly Known As Wimbledon that the Us came away with three wholesome points at the weekend. No doubt they’re ready for more.
The form guide holds almost nothing to cling onto. The Us have scored in all of their games indoors so far this season and our form on the road does not lend itself to us stopping that; not least when we’ve not kept a clean sheet since Cheltenham almost exactly two months ago. If there’s any window of opportunity for us, it’ll be after the break; 18 of the 23 goals they’ve let in have been in the second half and 35% in the final 15 minutes.
Let’s hope we ain’t out of sight at that point.
Then again, Christmas is a time of miracles. And a time that, staying or going, we wish you a mighty fine one of.
• MORE ABOUT ‘EM: Colchester United club profile