Colchester v Newport: why Exiles need Westley


Graham Westley –

Following an ideal August, Colchester United have now picked up just one win in their last six league games. They have scored only three goals in their previous four and manager John McGreal would like them to be a touch more incisive in the final third.

In each of their last three matches, they have had more of the ball but their expected goals total according to Experimental 361 has not been above one. They spent much of their game at Carlisle delicately tapping the ball around the edge of the final third, yet conceded from two set pieces.

It seems there is a lack of bravery in key areas of the field, perhaps explained by the fact that eight players who started at Brunton Park are under 24. With a young side, confidence and character can disappear quickly, which we saw from the U’s last season. They were in the top half until early October, but then went on a disastrous four-month winless run, not enough influential figures around to arrest the slump.

Currently, summer signing Doug Loft is out long-term due to an Achilles injury, so centre-back Luke Prosser and striker Chris Porter are the only players with some experience. One must question whether Colchester have learnt their lessons from last season, because once again they have left themselves with a group lacking experience, physicality, bravery and leadership.

Newport are in need of leadership themselves, but in the dugout, as much as on the pitch. Warren Feeney’s dismissal was supported by most fans, following a run of 13 league defeats in 19 games.

The Exiles have not necessarily been outplayed for 90 minutes in their games. A draw might have been a fair result in early defeats to Mansfield and Luton, and they were arguably unlucky at Grimsby on Tuesday too. Opposing teams have scored from a relatively large proportion of their attacks which, in the occasional game, could represent pure bad luck.

However, when defeats come consistently, questions must be asked. The defence has not been strong enough to deal with periods of pressure and opposing teams have looked sharper in the final third.

Suffice to say, Newport need a man to re-organize the defence and instil a combative edge. This blog would argue that the best man for the job is Graham Westley. For all the controversy that surrounds him, he has a strong record at this level and the hard-hitting style of play he enforces gets results.

Newport need to be more competitive in both boxes – of Colchester, the same can be said.

The Football Lab’s Verdict: 1-1

Other League Two Predictions
Mansfield v Notts Co Magpies revenge for 5-0 thrashing last year. 0-1
Accrington v Cheltenham Stanley in-form, Robins struggle to score when on top. 2-1
Blackpool v Cambridge U’s won more games in last 3 than Pool have in 10. 1-2
Doncaster v Barnet Bees to defend for a point. 0-0
Exeter v Grimsby Grecians have lost all 5 home games, scoring once. 0-2
Hartlepool v Crawley Both have tightened up, unbeaten since a defeat to Stevenage. 1-1
Leyton Orient v Portsmouth Pompey untrustworthy away, winning start for Cavasin. 2-1
Luton v Crewe Alex without Kiwomya – home win. 2-0
Morecambe v Carlisle Shrimps on the slide, 2nd Cumbrians away win. 1-2
Stevenage v Plymouth Boro thrive as underdogs, Argyle displays semi-convincing. 2-0
Yeovil v Wycombe Chairboys stabilized, Glovers struggling. 0-1
Last week: 4 correct results/10 1 exact scoreline – Cambridge 2-1 Accrington